How Rheumatoid Arthritis & Pulmonary Fibrosis Are Connected?

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pulmonary Fibrosis
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Pulmonary Fibrosis is a term that describes a thickening or skin damage from the lung area that damage the airways and air sacs which makes it hard to breathe.

The condition reduces oxygen levels within the bloodstream and can result in high bloodstream pressure, thrombus along with other serious problems. This ailment might be triggered by many factors[1].

When this condition is unknown it is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). you will find various ways of dealing with pulmonary fibrosis, and despite the fact that IPF doesn’t react to traditional fibrosis treatment you will find different methods to manage this problem and perhaps even decelerate or steer clear of the skin damage.

Pulmonary Fibrosis could be triggered by different factors including contact with certain chemicals, radiation, infections, medicines and chronic conditions for example Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

Because the defense mechanisms are involved, fibrosis treatment usually involves dealing with the condition with medicines known as adrenal cortical steroids that suppress your body’s defense mechanisms, decrease inflammation, and stop more skin damage.

Generally, other drugs can be used along with corticosteroids before any improvements are noticed. Unwanted effects and toxicity from the drugs utilized in treating fibrosis sometimes over-shadow the advantages.

For individuals who suffer from pulmonary fibrosis or IPF and are searching for options to traditional treatment, there’s an alternative choice.

A far more natural method of pulmonary fibrosis treatment methods are known as systemic enzyme therapy, and involves using natural enzymes to lessen or eliminate skin damage, eliminate mucus within the lung area, and fight this ailment.

This kind of treatment requires a different method of inflammation. Instead of attempting to steer clear of the inflammation it really speeds up it. The logic behind this really is that inflammation may be the body’s natural method of fighting dangerous stimuli.

When the inflammation is marketed and permitted to operate its course the healing is going to be faster. Systemic enzyme therapy has been shown to work by reduction of swelling, growing the bloodstream flow, and lowering the discomfort.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the destructive disease that targets primarily joints. However, it also affects many other organs and systems, including brain, heart, kidneys, spleen, blood vessels, lungs, and muscles.

rheumatoid arthritis affects around 1 in 100 people. In developed countries, rheumatoid arthritis is the most common autoimmune disease. Though rheumatoid arthritis may start at any age, it is more common after sixty. one in twenty women over the age of 65 years suffers the disease[2].

Economically it is a very expensive disease. Besides high direct medical cost, there is the much greater indirect medical price tag. rheumatoid arthritis cause many complications requires drastic therapies and orthopedic surgery. Doctors estimate that rheumatoid arthritis makes a one-in-three patient permanently disabled. Half of the patients stop work in the first decade of diagnosis.

rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease. It leads to the loss of mobility due to joint destruction and pain. The joints suffer in a polyarticular manner. That means that many joints affected at the same time.

Usually, in the beginning, joint problems are asymmetrical, later symmetrical ones. The pain improves when you use affected joints. Also, there is the morning stiffness of all joints for an hour or more. In osteoarthritis pain worsens in a opposite way – over the day after use.

Erosion and destruction of the joint surfaces eventually lead to deformity. The fingers are typically deviated towards the little finger and make unnatural shapes: boutonniere deformity, swan neck deformity, Z-Thumb, “squared hand. Besides joints problems, patients suffer anemia, gastrointestinal bleeding from drugs, splenomegaly (big spleen) and leucopenia (Felty’s syndrome), the salivary and lacrimal (tear) glands inflammation (Sjogren’s syndrome).

Idiopathic (unknown cause) pulmonary fibrosis is a disease in which a scarring of the tissue in the lungs occurs without any real known reason. If you can relate the scarring in the lungs that occurs with this condition to a scar you may have on your hand, leg, foot, or any other part of your body, you can see how it can make it more difficult to breathe.

Scar tissue lacks the flexibility of “normal” tissue and is thick and dense. If this takes place in the tissue surrounding the air sacs, it increases the difficulty of gases to pass through the seven layers of tissue that lies between the inside of the air sac and the inside of the blood vessel. This, ultimately, inhibits gas exchange.

Symptoms that would necessitate a visit to your healthcare provider would be a shortness of breath, greater difficulty in breathing, rapid breathing, inability to take a deep breath, use of your “accessory” or rib muscles to breathe, repositioning yourself (like leaning forward or supporting yourself with your arms) to breathe, extreme fatigue, headaches, confusion, cyanosis, fever, and increased cough – productive or dry.

Pulmonary fibrosis

How Does RA Link To Pulmonary Fibrosis?

The cause of pulmonary fibrosis is unknown, but rA can increase your risk for it because of the inflammation. research also shows that high counts of RA antibodies are linked to the development of interstitial lung disease (ILD).

ILD is the most common lung disease that’s associated with rA. It’s a serious and life-threatening condition that can develop into pulmonary fibrosis.

other factors can increase your risk of pulmonary fibrosis, including:

  • Cigarette smoking and exposure to environmental pollutants
  • Viral infections
  • Use of medications that damage the lungs (chemotherapy drugs, Heart medications, and certain anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • A family history of pulmonary fibrosis
  • A history of a gastroesophageal reflux disease

you may also develop pulmonary fibrosis if you have a medical condition that damages your lungs, such as polymyositis, sarcoidosis, and pneumonia.

This disease worsens as time goes on. For some, it worsens quickly – a few months to a few years. For others, it is a slow process – very many years.

While the disease is believed to be the result of an inflammatory process, occurring due to exposure to contaminants or a systemic inflammatory disease, the truly unknown nature of the disease makes it is hard for experts to determine why it can vary so widely between cases.
Just like a fingerprint, every case is different. one thing that does remain consistent is the timing – this disease tends to present itself between the ages of fifty and seventy.

In diagnosing this disease, your provider will ask many questions – have you been a smoker or have you been exposed to pollutants, have you been exposed to asbestos, work and social history, family history, and what your symptoms have been, including the length of time they have been present.
your provider will listen to your lungs, as well.

Many times, when listening to the lungs of a person with this disease, crackles (sounds that indicate compromised air flow) will be present.

In more advanced stages, cyanosis (discoloration of the mucous membranes and nail beds) will be evident. During the physical examination, your provider may mention a “barrel chest.”

This occurs when the lungs remain over-inflated for long periods of time, and fits its name well, as the chest takes on a barrel shape with a widening of the chest from your front to your back.

your provider may also examine your fingers for “clubbing.” Clubbing occurs due to long periods of low oxygen levels and makes the tips of the fingers enlarged.

your provider may order a CT scan, chest x-rays, bronchoscopy, measure your blood oxygen level, order pulmonary function tests, a lung biopsy, a six-minute walk test, and blood work to test for a systemic connective tissue disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for IPF. Treatment of the symptoms will be the focus of your provider.

Medications that reduce inflammation (steroids and other anti-inflammatory medications) are used along with oxygen therapy and pulmonary rehab (doesn’t cure the disease, but makes the body a more efficient machine).

Read Also: Understanding The Causes & remedies for Joint Inflammation

A lung transplant may also be something that is considered. The greatest thing that the patient can do is to make[3] lifestyle modifications – quit smoking, if necessary, and avoid second-hand smoke. Exercise. Eat right. Learn breathing techniques. Also, get your flu and pneumonia shots, and join a support group.

Just as any lung disease, there can be secondary complications that arise from this disease. They can include increased blood pressure in the lungs, place stress on the heart, lung collapse, and increase in red blood cells (if your body senses extended periods of low oxygen it will produce more red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues.

This will increase the amount of blood you have, which can increase your blood pressure).

In some cases of IPF, the disease appears to be genetic. In other cases, it appears to be environmental and caused by dust, fumes or smoke. Sometimes it seems to be an inflammatory response to prolonged exposure to those foreign substances and other times there is no inflammation.

Still, more have found that it is associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease and autoimmune disorders. These are all considered to be risk factors and do not guarantee the development of the disease, but they may increase the likelihood of development.

Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis is more prevalent in men than in women, but not by much. Symptoms usually begin between the ages of forty and seventy with two-thirds of patients being older than sixty when diagnosed, but it has presented several times in young adults.

Approximately 15,000 new cases develop each year in the United States and around 5,000 a year in the United Kingdom. There are around 50,000 people in the US suffering from the disease.

Read More: Ankle Arthritis – How To Deal With Ankle Arthritis Pain

Currently, there is no known cure for Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis and no consensus on treatment. The tissue hardening cannot be reversed, but it is possible to have a lung transplant. The progression of the disease cannot be stopped, slowed nor predicted and it does not respond to any medications.
Some of the symptoms can be managed in some patients with supplemental oxygen and lifestyle changes like quitting smoking. IPF patients displaying lung inflammation can take steroids to decrease the inflammation, but nothing can be done to slow the fibrosing.

New treatments are under investigation with drugs like pirfenidone and bosentan. The stark variations between patients with Interstitial Pulmonary Fibrosis make the disease mysterious as well as difficult to treat.

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