It is estimated that approximately 1.3 million people in this country are impacted by the painful and often disfiguring effects of rheumatoid arthritis. RA can be a very troubling condition for those diagnosed because there is no known cure. One can only hope to stave off the damage done as the bone and tissue of their joints is deteriorating. There are a number of concerns that new RA patients should be made aware of. Some of those problems will be addressed by a primary care physician, others may require a specialist, and a few will even call for a Waco dental professional.
Osteoporosis Unfortunately, these two conditions often go hand-in-hand. The RA can cause the bone thinning and deterioration known as osteoporosis. It is important for RA patients to find low impact forms of exercise to maintain strength and slow bone loss. There are also corticosteroids used to slow this progression.
Sjögren’s Syndrome This is an autoimmune disease that causes dry mouth and dry eyes. It can be very uncomfortable, but also poses other risks including gum disease and tooth decay, as saliva is used to clear away decay-causing bacteria. While there is no cure, there are treatments to maintain healthy eyes and oral conditions.
Heart Disease There are several factors that can increase one’s risk of heart disease. One of the most significant is the presence of RA. In fact, the RA diagnosis automatically doubles a person’s risk of this life threatening condition. Prevention measures and regular exams should be implemented as soon as possible.
Anemia This is a condition that causes a reduced number of red blood cells. These cells, of course, are responsible for the transportation of oxygen through the body. Therefore, too few cells can lead to serious complications. The longer RA symptoms – especially inflammation – go untreated, the greater the risk of anemia becomes. This is due to the fact that the swelling slows the rate at which bone marrow can regenerate red blood cells.
General Infections Perhaps one of the most important things for an RA patient to understand is that, while the medications are important for treating the symptoms of the disease, those drugs can also lead to a depressed immune system, less capable of fighting off infection. This can lead to RA patients becoming more susceptible to contagious illnesses that they are exposed it. It can also increase the risk of bacterial infections, including gum disease.
TMD Temporomandibular Disorders cause problems in the hinging joints of the jaw. These can include significant pain and discomfort, clicking, locking, as well as swelling at the sides of the face. Because RA attacks the joints, it is not surprising that this condition can often accompany it. There are treatments that a
TMJ Dentist in Waco can provide patients and recommendations that can be made to keep the symptoms of RA at bay so the TMJ is not so directly impacted.
Rheumatoid arthritis can really cause havoc in the body. It is important to maintain constant communication with doctors and dentists to ensure that the problem does not escalate to dangerous levels.
Steven T. Cutbirth DDS
1613 Lake Success Drive
Waco, TX 76710
(254) 772-5420 ?
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