You may be familiar with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which is a joint disease. However, did you know that it can also affect the lungs? When it does, it is called rheumatoid lung disease. Instead of being a single disease, though, rheumatoid lung disease refers to a group of lung conditions related to rheumatoid arthritis.
What Causes Rheumatoid Lung Disease?
Rheumatoid lung disease is considered a complication of RA. Because RA is an autoimmune disease, it can cause inflammation and scarring in other parts of the body, including the lungs. In fact, the lungs are the part of the body other than the joints that are affected by RA. Approximately 10 percent of people with RA have rheumatoid lung disease.
What Are Rheumatoid Lung Disease Conditions?
There are several conditions that make up rheumatoid lung diseases. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common rheumatoid lung diseases are:
-Interstitial Lung Disease: Interstitial lung disease affects about 6 percent of people with RA. It occurs when the tissues around the air sacs are injured. The inflammation associated with this condition can lead to scarring in the lungs.
-Rheumatoid Nodules: RA can cause small lumps to develop in the lungs. The nodules usually don’t cause symptoms and aren’t a risk factor for lung cancer. However, they can occasionally rupture, which can cause a lung to collapse.
-Pleural Disease: The pleura is the tissue that surrounds the lungs. RA can cause the tissue to become inflamed and fluid can collect between the layers of the pleura. The build-up of fluid is called pleural effusion.
What Are the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Lung Disease?
The exact symptoms an older adult with rheumatoid lung disease experiences depends on the type they have. However, some of the common symptoms associated with the disease are:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath.
- Feeling weak.
- Lack of appetite.
- A dry cough.
- Unexplained weight loss.
If your elderly family member has rheumatoid lung disease, home care can help them to live a more comfortable and healthier life. If the doctor prescribes medication for treatment of the disease, a home care provider can remind them to take the medication and monitor them while they do to ensure they take the right amount. Home care providers can also allow the senior to rest when they are feeling short of breath. Meanwhile, the home care provider can take care of household tasks, like cleaning, laundry, and preparing meals.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Boca Raton, FL, please call the caring staff at Happy at Home Care today. Always available at (561) 275-1735 or firstname.lastname@example.org.