How Rheumatoid Arthritis Affects the Lungs
Rheumatoid arthritis can also cause nodules to form in the throat and on the vocal cords, causing complications like hoarseness and other changes. Nodules can develop in the lungs as well, but usually don’t cause symptoms, and patients may never notice them.
Other Lung Complications
Research shows that damage to the lining of the lung, or the pleura, may occur in up to 70 percent of all people with RA, but only 3 to 5 percent experience symptoms. Problems include:
- Pleurisy This inflammation of the pleural tissue causes chest discomfort and difficulty breathing.
- Effusions Fluid that builds up in the pleural space around the lungs, and can lead to a persistent cough, shortness of breath, and a collapsed lung.