Health Conditions That Can Worsen Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disorder that causes severe pain, joint stiffness, limited mobility, and joint nodules. It is more common in women than in men, and it is thought to be an autoimmune disease. Joint damage from rheumatoid arthritis may be so severe that your orthopedic doctor near Birmingham, AL may recommend joint replacement surgery. Here are some health conditions that can worsen rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and what you can do about them.


Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that can cause severe neck and spinal pain. It causes your bones to weaken and thin, and like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis is more common in women than in men. It often develops in menopausal women who are deficient in estrogen. Osteoporosis can worsen the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and the combination of these disorders may lead to limited mobility, decreased range of motion, severe morning stiffness, fatigue, and weakness.

Your orthopedic doctor near Birmingham AL may suggest that you get enough rest and exercise and talk to your primary care doctor about hormone replacement therapy to raise your estrogen levels. This may slow the progression of osteoporosis and also help relieve rheumatoid-related pain.


Obesity is another health condition that can worsen rheumatoid arthritis pain. When you are overweight, your weight-bearing joints are stressed. This causes pain, stiffness, and inflammation, and may even lead to permanent disability. Obesity can also promote the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines which can trigger systemic and local inflammation.

Taking your prescribed rheumatoid arthritis medication helps dampen systemic inflammation, however, losing weight will further enhance the effects of your medication. If you are unable to lose weight on your own, your physician can recommend various treatment options to help you.

If you have rheumatoid arthritis and are concerned about joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness, contact Southlake Orthopaedics at or call us +1 (205) 985-4111.

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