… Continued …
- Side effect of certain medication, especially such as the use of corticosteroid.
- Co-morbidities factors such as diabetes.
- The role of other complications such as vasculitis.
Some experts also interest to the role of a protein called C4. It’s thought that low levels of C4 may have an effect in increasing the risk of infection with a bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. And some people with RA may have low levels of C4 during bad flares.
Bacterial infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae could be a serious problem in people with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Because the infection can cause serious septic infection and respiratory pneumonia!
Additionally, low white blood count can occur in a few people with RA. Even there is also a risk of developing a rare condition called Felty syndrome. This syndrome is typically found in those with RA for many years (more than 10 years).
The risk of metabolic syndrome
Sufferers with RA are at high risk of a cluster of conventional cardiovascular risk factors. This cluster is what we call as metabolic syndrome. These include obesity, high blood pressure (hypertension), dyslipidemia (abnormal level of lipids), and glucose intolerance.
The presence of rheumatic factor (RF) or/and anti-CCP antibody is usually the main indicator to help diagnose RA.
RF is a kind of abnormal antibody that attaches to IgG (immunoglobulin, an immune system protein). And for anti-CCP, it stands for anti – ‘cyclic citrullinated peptide’.
However, not all people with RA have these indicators. In blood test; about 20-30 percent don’t have rheumatic factor, and 10-15 percent don’t have anti-CCP antibody.
And it’s thought that those who have RF or/and anti-CCP antibody are more likely to have a severe form of the disease, causing greater chance for the disease to kill patients. RA that occurs at younger ages seems to progress and get worse more quickly, too!
However, each case of RA can be unique. There is no any statistic that can be reliable enough to predict what will happen. But it’s clear that controlling the inflammation of RA is so important to prevent the complications of the disease.
Work with your doctor to cope with the disease, follow the treatment plan as well, and practice healthy lifestyles as much as you could (see also lifestyles approaches to cope with RA)!
Since each flare could pose the risk of joint damage, the goal of the treatment is now intended to make the disease go into remission. Today, with appropriate treatment, most sufferers can make their RA go into remission for months or even years.