Studies and reports from patients indicate that the severity and incidence of the different problems I will mention are often related to the severity of the RA, how long you have had the disease, and how well it is controlled by medications and other treatments. So take heart because that is the really good news and I am always looking for and hanging onto the good news!
So, what are some of the issues? Let's talk eyes first.
Our skin is another body organ impacted by RA.
About half of the people with RA develop rheumatoid nodules – lumps of tissue that form under the skin, often over bony areas exposed to pressure, such as fingers or elbows. Unless the nodule is located in a sensitive spot, such as where you hold a pen, treatment may not be necessary. Nodules sometimes disappear on their own; disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), a category of drugs that inhibits the disease process, can cause them to vanish as well. Mine tend to come and go and are not painful. However, I do have some persistent issue at my wrists and had to have surgery there. Skin is also susceptible to RA drugs. Corticosteroids, which mimic the naturally occurring hormone cortisol to control inflammation, can cause thinning of the skin and susceptibility to bruising. I take a small dose now every day and I have definitely noticed easier bruising. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which treat inflammation, and Methotrexate, a widely prescribed DMARD, can cause sun sensitivity but I really have not noticed it myself (maybe living in the northern climate accounts for that). People taking biologic response modifiers, or biologics, a sub-category of DMARDs designed to stop inflammation at the cellular level, may develop a rash at the injection site but I have NEVER had one and I have been either injecting or having infusions for 9 years now. I do get some odd skin rashes which I attribute to the inflammatory nature of RA. I have some ointments and that and time take care of it. I did get shingles once and my Primary Care Physician definitely felt that my compromised immune system was, if not completely certainly partly, responsible. We caught it early and I really did not suffer much with it.