Rheumatoid arthritis can put you at a higher risk of developing other conditions, particularly if it's not well controlled.
Some of these conditions are described below.
Carpal tunnel syndrome isa common condition in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
It's the result of compression of the nerve that controls sensation and movement in the hands (median nerve) and can cause symptoms such as:
Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome can sometimes be controlled with wrist splints or corticosteroid injections, although surgery to release the pressure on the median nerve may beneeded in severe cases.
Read about treating carpal tunnel syndrome .
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory condition which can cause inflammation to develop in other parts of your body, such as the:
However, thanks to early treatment, inflammation due to rheumatoid arthritis affecting other parts of the body is becoming less common.
If rheumatoid arthritis isn't treated early or isn't well controlled, the inflammation in your joints could lead to significant and permanent damage.
Problems that can affect the joints include:
These problems sometimes need to be treated with surgery to prevent loss of function in the affected joints.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you're at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) than the population at large.
CVD isa general term that describes conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels, and it includes life-threatening problems such as heart attacks and strokes .
It's not clear exactly why people with rheumatoid arthritis are at an increased risk of these problems. You can reduce your risk by ensuring your arthritis is well controlled and by reducing the impact of other factors that contribute to CVD, such as:
Read about preventing CVD .
If you've had rheumatoid arthritis for some time, you're at increased risk of developing cervical myelopathy and you may need a special assessment of your neck before any operation where you're put to sleep.
This condition is caused by dislocation of joints at the top of the spine, which put pressure on the spinal cord. Although relatively uncommon, it's a serious condition that can greatly affect your mobility and can lead to permanent spinal cord damage if not treated promptly with surgery.
Read about rheumatoid arthritis, a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis mainly affects the joints, although it can cause problems in other parts of the body too.
Read about the causes of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means it's caused by the bodys immune system attacking itself
Read about diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. It can be difficult to diagnose because many conditions cause joint stiffness and inflammation
Read about treating rheumatoid arthritis. Treatment can help reduce inflammation in the joints, relieve pain and prevent or slow joint damage.
Read about living with rheumatoid arthritis. It can be life-changing and you may need long-term treatment to control your symptoms and reduce joint damage.
Read about complications of rheumatoid arthritis. Having rheumatoid arthritis can put you at a higher risk of developing other conditions
Paul Casimir has been living with arthritis for half his life, but he doesnt let it stop him doing the things he enjoys.
Jonathan Gledhill was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when he was 27. He explains how arthritis affects his life.