If hand arthritis is not treated initially, it may show long-term effects. As
hand rheumatoid arthritis progresses, it can develop inflammation and pain to
other finger joints, joints of elbow, shoulder, and wrist. Hand arthritis
damages the fibrous tissue around the joints. Therefore, Cartilage tissue and
bones start to fuse, which causes framework deformity and the loss of mobility
of your hands. Lack of mobility of your hand causes serious issues and hampers
the quality of life.
Untreated hand arthritis also affects our significant organs such as the lung,
heart, skin, and kidney.
Let’s discuss it vividly.
Effects on the lung
The Mayo Clinic Health Journal explained the lung problems associated with
Rheumatoid hand arthritis. They are discussed below:
Scarring within the lungs: Arthritis causes long-term
inflammation in the lungs, which is also known as interstitial lung disease,
which may cause shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, chronic dry
Lung nodule: Rheumatoid arthritis in hand may develop nodules in
the lung, which is known as a rheumatoid nodule. It doesn’t have the risk of
lung cancer. But the nodule rupture may collapse the lung.
Pleural disease: The soft membrane around the lungs known
as the Pleura gets inflamed. The large diffusion causes breathing problems,
painful breathing, and fever.
Small airway obstruction: The wall of the lung’s small airways
can become dense due to chronic inflammation and bronchiectasis or bronchiolitis
caused by hand arthritis.
Effect on the Heart
According to the American College of Rheumatology, patients who have severe hand
arthritis may develop major inflammation, spreading to the blood vessels and
narrowing it. This narrowness causes blockage and clots of blood arteries and
makes blood vessels small. This kind of Coronary blockage increases the chance
of having a stroke and heart attack. In addition, hand rheumatoid arthritis
leads to pericarditis which means inflammation of the surrounded heart membrane.
Effect on the Kidney
We get science baked evidence that untreated arthritis can severely affect the
kidney. Mayo Clinic reviewed this topic in their Journal “Vigilance for kidney
problems key for rheumatoid arthritis patients”. Researchers have conducted a
study on 813 Mayo Clinic Patients having rheumatoid arthritis, and 813 don’t
have RA. They found that patients with rheumatoid arthritis have a 25% increased
risk of developing chronic kidney disease than the general population, which
shows the risk factor is only 20%. Thus, physicians advised rheumatoid arthritis
patients to perform kidney function tests periodically. They should keep their
blood pressure under control, avoid high-salt food and medications that damage
Effects on the skin
As arthritis especially, Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease, it
intends to attack the outer lining of the joints, which can deteriorate your
skin condition. Rashes are redness are the common skin condition that comes with
untreated rheumatoid arthritis. Apart from that, procrastination of hand
arthritis causes blisters and nodules in your hand joints.
The Journal of Rheumatology said that patients with rheumatoid arthritis at hand
and knee joints might cause radiographic damage. But appropriate treatment
capable of preventing radiographic progression.