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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can rheumatoid arthritis effect organs of the body?

    I understand that rheumatoid arthritis can affect the hands and fingers but can it effect any other part of the body? Can it effect internal organs?
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  • 66


    Dr Anna Dorai Raj


    Completed Rheumatology Training in 1998 and started working in Private Practice in 1999 in Canberra. Visiting Medical Officer at Canberra Hospital. Lecturer at Australian National … View Profile

    It is a systemic disease, so other than the joints, patients can get what we call extra-articular manifestations. These can involve a number of sites, including the lungs and eyes. You can get skin nodules, for instance, and it can affect the linings of the lungs and the heart.

    Very rarely, does it affect some of the other organs, such as nerves. We also know now that the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis does increase cardiovascular risk. Keeping the arthritis adequately controlled and addressing other cardiovascular problems is very important.

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    Philip Robinson MBChB PhD FRACP is a rheumatologist currently working at Brisbane Rheumatology at St Andrew's War memorial Hospital in Spring Hill. He also works … View Profile

    RA can have effects beyond the joints, including the skin and lungs but these are not very common. Effective treatment reduces the chance of these things happening.

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