How rheumatoid arthritis is linked to lung disease

Rheumatoid arthritis may increase the risk of developing lung disease.

Arthritis linked to lung disease

New research suggests that rheumatoid arthritis may increase the risk of developing lung disease.

The findings, which appear in Arthritis Care & Research, indicate that greater vigilance may be needed to protect the respiratory health of individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions.

The research team wanted to investigate whether prolonged inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis predisposed individuals to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is an umbrella term that includes emphysema, chronic bronchitis and chronic asthma which isn’t fully reversible. It is the second leading cause of avoidable hospital admissions in Australia and remains one of the country’s leading causes of death.

The Canadian research team examined information on individuals in the province of British Columbia who were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between 1996 and 2006, and compared it with information on matched individuals in the general population.

The analysis included 24,625 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 25,396 control patients without the condition.

The investigators found that the incidence of COPD hospitalisation was greater in patients with rheumatoid arthritis than in the general population.

After adjusting for potential confounding factors, individuals with rheumatoid arthritis had a 47 per cent greater risk of needing to be hospitalised for COPD than those without the condition.

"These findings are novel because it has only recently been recognised that inflammation plays a role in the development of COPD,” said University of British Colombia researcher Dr Dianne Lacaille.

“(Many) clinicians treating people with rheumatoid arthritis are not aware that their patients are at increased risk of developing COPD," she said.

"Our results emphasise the need to control inflammation, and in fact to aim for complete eradication of inflammation through effective treatment of rheumatoid arthritis."

Dr Lacaille added that clinicians and people living with rheumatoid arthritis should be vigilant in watching for early symptoms of COPD.

Do you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis? Are you worried you are at an increased risk of developing lung disease?

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    COMMENTS

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    AutumnOz
    27th Apr 2018
    11:16am
    I have chronic asthma and had it for very many years before being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. One of the symptoms I was warned about with rheumatoid arthritis was the possibility of increased breathlessness.
    It would be interesting to know if a person had one condition it may lead to the other developing.
    tisme
    27th Apr 2018
    11:45am
    ive had problems with breathlessness diagnosed as asthma and more recently they have found arthritis
    Jennie
    27th Apr 2018
    2:03pm
    Yes, I have a friend who has both COPD and rheumatoid arthritis.
    missmarple
    27th Apr 2018
    2:54pm
    I am a 24/7 oxygen dependant with cronic COPD and have both Rheumatoid and osteo Arthritis, hence am limited to activity, so therefore have probs with my weight, but life goes on, :)
    Gypsy
    29th Apr 2018
    3:54pm
    I'm the other way around. I have severe RA & am now developing breathlessness. I've just gone onto another treatment for RA that appears to be working as my C-RP is now <1 (those with RA will know what this means), so I'm hoping that with the decreased inflammation, my lungs won't get any worse.
    Good luck to all of you with chronic ailments, whatever they may be. And remember, diet & exercise is a huge part of controlling disease!
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    29th Apr 2018
    8:03pm
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    pamelawayans
    9th May 2018
    9:46pm
    I have had ASTHMA my whole life but about 7 years ago my asthma got so bad and was diagnosed of EMPHYSEMA/COPD which was most likely due to the asthma. I was on double antibiotics and steroids, still didn't feel any better. My lungs were constantly wheezing in all four chambers, i already used Advair, Spiriva, and Albuterol in my nebulizer, they just didn’t do much. April 2016 my sister in-law told us about Rich Herbs Foundation where she ordered herbs that effectively treated her arthritis. We ordered their COPD herbal treatment after reading alot of positive reviews, i am happy to report this COPD herbal treatment reversed my lungs condition. My quality of life has greatly improved and every one of my symptoms including difficulty breathing and wheezing are gone. Their official web page is ww w. richherbsfoundation. c om. I will be 52 soon and have never been healthier!
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    17th May 2018
    6:06pm
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    2nd Apr 2019
    4:57am
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