9 Health Issues That Arthritis Can Cause

A man in a white t-shirt sitting on his bed, stretching his back with a pained look on his face.(BlackDoctor.org) — If you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you should be aware of other health problems that are associated with the autoimmune disorder. Why the higher risks of certain illnesses? Doctors aren’t sure about all the exact reasons, but it may be caused by RA-related inflammation or RA treatments – or they may occur at higher rates for unknown reasons. But regardless of the exact cause, it’s important to note that most related conditions can be prevented or treated.

The top illnesses and symptoms you should be on the lookout for include:

Bone thinning

RA can cause bone thinning and osteoporosis (which increases the risk of bone fractures), as can the inflammation-fighting corticosteroids used to treat it.

In addition, people with RA often cut back on activity due to pain, which can accelerate loss of bone and muscle mass, says Guy Fiocco, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, in Temple.

What to do: Have regular bone-density scans and talk to your doctor about bone-strengthening medications and exercise. Also, get enough calcium and vitamin D, Dr. Fiocco says.