Thursday, December 1, 2022

How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect Your Skin

Stay In Constant Touch With Your Doctor

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis? | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

If you are suffering from RA, it is important for you to visit your doctor at regular intervals. This will not only help your doctor to check the progression of the disease, but will also help you detect and prevent lung complications that might be arising due to RA. Timely detection and treatment can prevent lung infections from worsening or turning fatal.

At EPIC Health, we can help you manage your rheumatoid arthritis and prevent it from causing chronic lung infections. Our expert primary care physicians carry out a number of health screenings to evaluate the extent of your disease progression and prevent RA from causing lung infections or other heath complication.

Schedule an appointment at EPIC Health today! We can help you live happy, healthy and better.

Symptoms Of Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis

Seronegative rheumatoid arthritis patients must possess a distinct set of symptoms in order to be diagnosed. This is because the lack of antibodies in the blood makes it more difficult to reach a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis.

Some of the most important symptoms in diagnosing seronegative rheumatoid arthritis include:

  • Joint pain, stiffness specifically in the hands but also in knees, elbows, hips, feet and ankles
  • Joint swelling and redness
  • Morning stiffness lasting longer than 30 minutes
  • Fatigue
  • Eye redness

Though this is not an exhaustive list, the majority of these will support a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. If we compare these symptoms to seropositive rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, there are many similarities. However, many patients see these symptoms evolve and change over time.

It is thought that seropositive patients experience a more severe disease course than seronegative patients. But studies have also shown that in some patient cases, the progression is comparable and sometimes is there is little difference. This is where it becomes complicated in trying to classify rheumatoid arthritis into sub-types and to reach a solid diagnosis.

There are some symptoms that are thought to be rheumatoid arthritis in seronegative patients, but later turn out to be other conditions. These cases mainly involve differences in the types of joints and areas affected as well as the levels of inflammation.

Arthritis And Your Skin

Learn about the various ways having arthritis can affect the skin.

Arthritis is often referred to as an invisible disease because the inflammation and pain that affect the joints are often difficult to see. But some conditions that accompany different forms of arthritis may not be so invisible, because they affect our largest and most visible organ: our skin.

For example, a red or purplish rash across the cheeks and bridge of the nose often occurs in people with lupus, and the scaly skin of psoriasis is present in almost all people with psoriatic arthritis.

But bruises, bumps and lesions on the skin can occur along with many other forms of arthritis. They often signal an underlying problem caused by either the disease or the medications used to treat it that should not be ignored.

Here are several to watch for:

Increased Sun Sensitivity

Skin reddening or burning that occurs with sun exposure could simply be a sign that you should use more sunscreen or spend more time in the shade. But if you notice you burn more easily than you once did or you develop a rash or hives when you are in the sun, you are likely suffering from photosensitivity, says Jeffrey Weinberg, MD, associate clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York.

Cold, Discolored Fingers or Toes

Multiple Sores or Purple Spots

Unusual Bruising

Red or Purple Lines Under the Skin

A Wound That Doesnt Heal

Quick Links

You May Like: Best Treatment For Arthritis Pain In Hands

Highlights Of Pharmacologic Therapy

Monitoring for therapeutic benefit and toxicity is required for the duration of treatment.2TABLE 1 outlines the specific agents in the pharmacologic categories discussed below. While beyond the scope of this article, a comprehensive discussion about the pharmacologic management of RA may be found in References 1 , 2, 10, and individual manufacturer’s guidelines for each agent.1,2,10

Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs are indicated in almost all RA patients since they appear to slow the progression of the disease.1 DMARDs vary chemically and pharmacologically from one another and no one agent is safe and efficacious in every patient.1,11 The ultimate goal is the prevention of erosions and progressive deformity, so DMARDs should be initiated within 3 months of diagnosis.2 Use in combination with one another may be more effective than monotherapy in some cases, a DMARD plus a biologic agent may be used to achieve a therapeutic outcome.1,2 MTX is the most commonly prescribed DMARD in the U.S. many rheumatologists consider it the drug of choice for managing RA.2,8 Toxicity to MTX, or any immunosuppressive agent, is increased in the elderly.10 Penicillamine, gold compounds, and the cytotoxic, immunosuppressive, or immunomodulatory agentsare used less frequently today due to toxicity and/or lack of long-term benefit, especially in the elderly, although they may have clinical value.8

Cutaneous Adverse Effects Of Treatment For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Arthritis and Your Skin: 6 Ways RA Affects Skin Problems ...

The treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can cause side effects involving the skin.

Disease modifying antirheumatic drugs used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis include methotrexate, azathioprine, leflunamide, ciclosporin, and hydroxychloroquine. Skin side effects are well documented.

There are many new and emerging treatments for rheumatoid arthritis including biological treatments, Janus kinase inhibitors, rituximab , tocilizumab with their associated cutaneous side effects. Tumour necrosis factor inhibitors are biologic agents used widely for treatment-resistant rheumatoid arthritis. Many cutaneous side effects have been reported with their use in rheumatoid arthritis including psoriasis, dermatitis, leukocytoclastic vasculitis, lichenoid drug eruptions, and non-infectious cutaneous granulomatous reactions, such as disseminatedgranuloma annulare, sarcoidosis-like lesions, and interstitial granulomatous dermatitis.

Dermatological side effects of tumour necrosis factor inhibitors

Recommended Reading: What Is The Rheumatoid Arthritis Blood Test

Don’t Miss: Mayo Clinic Joint Pain

Getting The Right Treatment For An Ra Skin Rash

Who do you call when your skin flares? For people with psoriatic arthritis, considering skin and joint problems in tandem makes so much sense that more than two dozen combined dermatology/rheumatology clinics have been established.

For RA, the director of the combined Center for Skin and Related Musculoskeletal Diseases at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston suggests contacting your rheumatologist.

Starting with the rheumatologist who is treating your joint disease and prescribing your arthritis medication would be a good first step. They can decide if a dermatology referral is appropriate, says Joseph F. Merola, MD, who is also an associate professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School.

If you can, snap a picture of the problem area on your phone and bring it to your appointment.

I would still want to examine you in person, but it can be very helpful for me to see a picture of how the rash looked early on, says Dr. Deane.

Accurately diagnosing a skin problem sometimes requires a skin biopsy, blood tests, or allergy tests in addition to a physical examination. Once your doctor has pinpointed the problem, the answer may be a specific skin remedy or adjusting your arthritis regimen.

Research On Rheumatoid Arthritis

In the last decade, much research has been conducted to increase our understanding of the immune system and what makes it malfunction. There have also been new therapies developed to help treat the disease. Some of the topics of intense research include:

What are the genetic factors that predispose people to develop rheumatoid arthritis?

Some white blood cells, commonly known as T cells, are important in maintaining a healthy and properly functioning immune system. However, scientists have discovered a variationcalled single nucleotide polymorphism in a gene that controls T cells. When the SNP gene variation is present, T cells attempt to correct abnormalities in joints too quickly, causing the inflammation and tissue damage associated with RA. The discovery of SNP may help determine peoples risk for getting RA and might help explain why autoimmune diseases run in families.

At conception, twins have an identical set of genes. So why would only one twin develop RA?

Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of Arthritis In Wrist

Rheumatoid Nodule: Causes And Treatment

Roughly 10 to 40 percent of patients will develop nodules, which can vary in size and are commonly found on the extensor surfaces . Nodules are quite common in rheumatoid arthritis patients, but some factors may increase ones risk of developing them, such as testing positive for rheumatoid factor and smoking. Majority of nodules are asymptomatic, meaning, they do not require treatment, but for nodules that interfere with physical function, injections or surgical removal may be required.

Treatment for rheumatoid nodules is usually the same as for rheumatoid arthritis DMARDs . These medications can help reduce the size of rheumatoid nodules, but if patients take methotrexate , nodules may actually grow in size. Some patients undergo steroid injections, but in cases where nodules become infected surgery may be required to remove them.

Also Check: Is Marijuana Good For Arthritis Pain

Managing Symptoms Of Autoimmune Arthritis

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Several medications work for both psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications reduce pain and swelling.
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs protect joints and slow the disease, and less of the joint is destroyed, meaning theres less swelling, pain and less loss of joint function.
  • Biologics target the specific parts of the immune system that drive inflammation.

As researchers learn more about the causes of inflammatory arthritis, theyre developing new medications to manage these diseases. Some of these new drugs are designed to specifically target one disease or the other.

Both psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are chronic diseases. They cant be cured, but they can be managed, Dr. Rosian says. By working with your doctor to get the correct diagnosis, you can manage symptoms to feel your best.

Read Also: Is Broccoli Bad For Arthritis

What Is Rheumatoid Vasculitis

Rheumatoid vasculitis is a rare complication of arthritis that causes inflammation and constriction of blood vessels. The condition tends to affect veins and arteries near the skin, though vessels in the eyes, gastrointestinal tract, and near internal organs may also be involved. Most cases of rheumatoid vasculitis and underlying joint arthritis can be treated with prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. Surgery may be necessary if serious nerve, organ, or bone complications occur.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly inhibits healthy joint tissue, causing inflammation, pain, and swelling. A very small percentage of rheumatoid arthritis patients develop signs of vasculitis, usually at least ten years after the onset of joint problems. The condition is most likely to cause problems in arteries and veins near the joints that are troubled by arthritis, but it can potentially become widespread. Inflamed blood vessels swell, thicken, and narrow, leading to a number of obvious and often painful physical symptoms.

What Are The Risk Factors For Ra

Researchers have studied a number of genetic and environmental factors to determine if they change persons risk of developing RA.

Characteristics that increase risk

  • Age. RA can begin at any age, but the likelihood increases with age. The onset of RA is highest among adults in their sixties.
  • Sex. New cases of RA are typically two-to-three times higher in women than men.
  • Genetics/inherited traits. People born with specific genes are more likely to develop RA. These genes, called HLA class II genotypes, can also make your arthritis worse. The risk of RA may be highest when people with these genes are exposed to environmental factors like smoking or when a person is obese.
  • Smoking. Multiple studies show that cigarette smoking increases a persons risk of developing RA and can make the disease worse.
  • History of live births. Women who have never given birth may be at greater risk of developing RA.
  • Early Life Exposures. Some early life exposures may increase risk of developing RA in adulthood. For example, one study found that children whose mothers smoked had double the risk of developing RA as adults. Children of lower income parents are at increased risk of developing RA as adults.
  • Obesity. Being obese can increase the risk of developing RA. Studies examining the role of obesity also found that the more overweight a person was, the higher his or her risk of developing RA became.

Characteristics that can decrease risk

You May Like: Throat Arthritis Treatment

Treatment Of Skin Issues

Some skin issues may require treatments, while others might not. Treatment will depend on the cause and severity. The goal of treatment is to reduce pain, discomfort, and inflammation, and also to prevent infection.

It is very important to treat the underlying cause of skin problems, as these conditions are a sign that rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are not well-managed.

Common over-the-counter medications, including acetaminophen , can help with pain, while NSAIDs, including ibuprofen, can help control and reduce inflammation. Severe pain may need prescription NSAIDs. Corticosteroids can also help reduce skin inflammation, but these medications cannot be used in the long-term. If there is a possibility of infection, a topical or oral antibiotic may be prescribed. Hives are usually treated with antihistamines.

If medications are the cause of RA skin symptoms, medication replacement or reduction may help prevent or reduce skin symptoms.

Is It Ra Or Osteoarthritis

How Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Affect The Skin Heart Lungs ...

When you first notice foot pain, you may wonder if it’s osteoarthritis . OA is also known as wear-and-tear arthritis, and it is more common than rheumatoid arthritis.

There is no clear-cut way to tell if you have OA or RA without a medical diagnosis. But OA and RA do have some key differences.

  • Usually affects both feet at once

  • Morning stiffness generally lasts longer than half an hour

  • Most often affects only one foot

  • Stiffness tends to be easier to relieve in the morning, often getting better in less than half an hour or with a few minutes of stretching

Read Also: Psoriatic Arthritis Rash On Face

When To See A Doctor

The sooner, the better. Although not everybody develops the most life-altering symptoms and complications, early diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis can increase your chances of symptom improvement and a clinical remission, in which your symptoms disappear.

Dr. Nathaniel Neal and Dr. Rebekah Neal-Kraal want to get and keep you symptom-free for as long as possible. If you suspect you have rheumatoid arthritis or if youve been diagnosed, contact us today at our office in Los Alamitos, California. We can work with you to create an effective treatment plan to improve your symptoms so you can live a more comfortable, happier life.

You Might Also Enjoy…

Ways Ra Can Lead To Skin Eruptions

1. Out-of-whack immune system. In RA, your immune system has already attacked your own joints. This revved-up immune system can also be related to eczema or allergies that affect the skin, says Dr. Deane.

2. Tamped down immune defenses. Dampening your immune system with medication can help control your RA symptoms, but they may leave your skin more vulnerable to infection, Dr. Deane cautions.

If you have a rash thats rapidly spreading, is bright red, or is accompanied by fever or malaise, we think about infections such as cellulitis a potentially dangerous bacterial infection of the skin, says Dr. Deane.

3. Other medication reactions. Rashes can occur at the site where you inject a biologic medication. These are usually mild and clear up in a few days. More worrisome are overall rashes or hives that appear during or within 24 hours after you receive infusion of a drug directly into your bloodstream.

Unfortunately, theres a rare but real chance for an allergic-type reaction from infusions of RA medications. These usually appear within 12-24 hours of the infusion and need immediate medical attention, Dr. Deane says.

Several drugs that are used to treat RA, including TNF inhibitors, may sometimes induce or worsen psoriasis, a skin disease that creates an itchy scaly rash .

Long-term use of corticosteroids, such as prednisone, can also leave the skin more prone to bruising or tears.

You May Like: How To Prevent Arthritis In Fingers

Dermatologic Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Senior Care Consultant Pharmacist andPresident of MZ Associates, Inc.Norwich, New Yorkwww.mzassociatesinc.com

US Pharm. 2009 34:22-24.

Rheumatoid arthritis , the most common inflammatory arthritis, is a chronic autoimmune disease and an important cause of disability in seniors.1-3 Medications for RA account for approximately 10% of the total cost of treating a patient with this condition .2 When comparing patients of similar age and gender, the cost of treating a patient with RA is three times as high as the medical care for a patient without this illness.2

While RA usually presents between the ages of 25 and 50, its prevalence increases with advancing age up to 80 years and new cases may occur even in the very old.3-5 Worldwide, RA affects approximately 1% of the population and affects women two to three times more often than men.4,6 In patients age 15 to 45, women predominate by a 6:1 ratio in seniors older than 60 years, the sex ratio is approximately equal.2 The course of this condition is unpredictable, and its progression is most rapid during the first through sixth year after diagnosis.1 Permanent abnormalities of the joint develop within 10 years in 80% of patients.1

What Are The Causes Of Psoriatic Arthritis And Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints.

We donât have an understanding of what causes many autoimmune conditions, including RA and PsA, but there are common links among people who develop these diseases.

âWe donât know exactly what causes RA or PSA, but we do know there are genetic components and stress components to both,â Magdalena Perez-Rivera, MD, rheumatology specialist with Conviva Care Centers tells Health.

Here are some of the primary risk factors for RA and PsAyouâll see there is a good amount of overlap.

Donât Miss: Rheumatoid Arthritis In Lower Back Symptoms

Read Also: Ra Pain In Hands

Popular Articles
Related news