Arthritis Complications

The basic health complication from arthritis is stiffness of the joint.  The restrictions of your body’s range of motion are due to inflammation and pain of the joint or from actual damage to the joint.  As for osteoarthritis, bone spurs can develop on a normal bone causing pain and compression of the nerves as well as restriction of body motion. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, damages the joint’s synovial lining which eventually causes the limitation or actual loss of range of motion of the joints.

The following are complications that rheumatoid arthritis can cause:

  • The incapacity of the sufferer to perform his activities of daily living
  • The shortening of the lifespan of the sufferer
  • Peripheral neuropathy – The sufferer may experience burning, numbness or tingling in his hands and feet
  • Spine instability
  • High or low blood platelets
  • Lung disease
  • Heart disease/failure – RA ups the risk for heart disease, primarily because of the inflammatory effects of RA. These effects may damage heart muscle tissue and the arteries.
  • Joint distraction
  • Social limitations
  • Stiffness of the joint
  • Lung disease
  • Anemia
  • Periodontal disease – People who acquire RA are twice at risk than people without RA to develop periodontal disease. Both periodontal disease and RA are the result of immune dysfunction and chronic inflammation
  • Osteoporosis – If not properly managed RA can lead to osteoporosis which is a condition that erodes bone density, a condition which commonly affects postmenopausal women. The hipbone is usually the body part affected most by RA.
  • Gastrointestinal problems – RA can lead to colorectal cancer among its sufferers
  • Skin problems – RA can lead to dermal conditions especially the fingernails and the fingers
  • Infections – Sufferers of RA are more prone to infections even more so if they are taking immune-suppressing drugs
  • Scleritis – RA can lead to scleritis which is the inflammation of the blood vessels located in the eye. Scleritis in turn can lead to damage to the cornea and possible blindness

Complication of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA in young people can lead to a condition named macrophage activation syndrome

Psoriatic Arthritis Complications

The daily routine activities of sufferers may be severely affected by psoriatic arthritis.  This type of complication is quite painful prompting the sufferer to sit or lay down until the pain dissipates. Psoriatic arthritis causes the gradual erosion of the joints.

Gout Arthritis Complications

If unmanaged or poorly controlled, gout arthritis can lead to complications such as chronic problems in the joints and the creation of kidney stones. Gout can also cause permanent disability to a person.

Mark Schwartz is a licensed acupuncturist and the founder of Buckhead Acupuncture & Herbal Center in Atlanta, GA.