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Protecting Your Lungs With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with several lung problems.

Don’t postpone until it’s too late protecting your lungs and airways if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Almost ten percent of people with RA will also develop interstitial lung disease (ILD), or scarring of lung tissue, according to the Arthritis Foundation. People living with rheumatoid arthritis are also at heightened risk of:

Uncommonly, RA involvement also can affect the vocal cords, causing hoarseness or shortness of breath.

Act Now to Preserve Precious Lung Tissue in the Long Term

Don’t wait for the “why” to be understood. Get your protective action plan in gear now with these eight tips:

1. Get Early Treatment for RA

“We are still working to understand the natural history of lung involvement in RA and how exactly medication may be involved. At this point, I would encourage early screening for lung involvement for signs and symptoms,” says Jeffrey A. Sparks, MD, assistant professor of medicine in the division of rheumatology, immunology, and allergy at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

2. Don’t Smoke, and Avoid Secondhand Smoke 

According to the Arthritis Foundation, people with RA who smoke are more apt to develop ILD. To get help with quitting, go to the SmokeFree.gov website.

3. Limit Exposure to PesticidesAirborne Chemicals, and Air Pollution

There seems to be a tight connection between the lungs and joints in rheumatoid arthritis, so it’s very important to eliminate inhalants, such as pesticidesairborne chemicals, and air pollution, as much as possible. “Most of the research has focused on the detrimental effects of cigarette smoking on both the joints and lungs, but it makes sense that the others are likely unhealthy as well,” says Dr. Sparks.

4. Ask Your Doctor About Getting Flu and Pneumonia Vaccines

Have you gotten a flu shot this year? Preventing infection is better than treating infection, since there may be damage to the lungs. Sparks explains, “The flu and pneumonia vaccines are effective and all patients with RA are strongly advised to receive them, particularly if on immunosuppressive medication, which might make them both more susceptible to infection. If infected, it could become more severe.”

Read full article: Protecting Your Lungs With Rheumatoid Arthritis | Everyday Health

Read Full Article: Protecting Your Lungs With Rheumatoid Arthritis | Everyday Health

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