Everything You Need to Know About Rheumatoid Arthritis – Symptoms,Signs,Causes, and Treatments

Heart and blood vessel diseases

Rheumatoid arthritis does not affect the joints only; it can affect soft tissue, which leads to inflammation in multiple systems, including the cardiovascular system. The affection of the cardiovascular system in rheumatoid arthritis is the main cause of premature death in rheumatic patients. The inflammatory cells attack the inner lining of the heart, causing a health problem known as endocarditis. This condition is life-threatening because it increases the risk of developing heart attack, damages the heart from the inside, and spread the inflammatory cells throughout the body, which increases inflammation in other systems. The inflammation affects the outer lining of the heart causing pericarditis, characterized by severe pain that can be felt in the chest or other areas like shoulders, arm or the back. Inflammation may also affect the vessels leading to a condition known as vasculitis. Vasculitis increases the risk of stroke, thrombosis, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.