Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type of arthritis to be diagnosed in the UK.
It’s an autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints.
It can leave the joints feeling sore and inflamed, and could even damage the surrounding cartilage or tendons.
You could be at risk of the condition if you have a severe pain in your chest, it’s been revealed.
Rheumatoid arthritis could lead to a heart condition, known as pericarditis.
Pericarditis is the name given to inflammation in the tissue surrounding the heart.
This inflammation could replicate the symptoms of a heart attack, including chest pain.
Medical website WebMD said: “The disease causes inflammation in many body parts, so you may have symptoms that you don’t realise are related to rheumatoid arthritis.
“Some are signs of serious complications that put your organs, or even your life, at risk.
“Rheumatoid arthritis makes you more likely to get heart disease. Over time, plaque builds up in your arteries. Doctors call this atherosclerosis.
“This can lead to a heart attack. Chest pain is a common symptom.
“Even though your chest pain may not be a heart attack, if you have it, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.”
You could also be at risk of rheumatoid arthritis if you have particularly dry eyes, it added. Dry eyes increases the risk of eye infections.
It also raises the risk of Sjögren’s syndrome, which can lead to a dry mouth and dry skin.
Some patients also develop dry and cracked lips, and have more chance of an infection.
Some of the most common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include joint pain, swelling and stiffness, said the NHS.
The symptoms usually develop gradually, over a period of several weeks. They can come and go, and may change from person to person.
The condition can be difficult to diagnose, because there are a number of conditions that cause joint stiffness and inflammation.
But, speak to a GP if you have the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Patients may need long-term treatment to reduce symptoms and prevent joint damage.
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