RA absolutely causes or can cause inflammatory pulmonary issues. of course, it is not a bad idea TO see a pulmonologist eventually to defintely rule out any serious pulmonic issues.
like yourself i suffered with terrible difficulty "getting air in" it was like ya just couldn't breath in/inhale all the way and it was PAINFUL. got worse on exertion, walking, talking, eating and bending over.
they tried ALBUTEROL, did nothing.
i do have emphysema & pleural thicking due to inflammation per XRAY.
when i did consult with a pulmonologist & did all the PFT's...his opinion was that it was from the RA.
with RA...the connective tissues of the body become inflammed, and in some people this inflammation hits the tissues around the lungs, the plueral lining, the ribs, the chest wall & diaphragm.
that's why you'll see a lot of people here with RA who have costochondritis (basically inflammed chest wall & ribs & all that stuff in that area) and also pleurisy or pleuritis. i deal with both and they do feel like a heart attack that's for sure.
the thing that actually HELPED was starting Enbrel, then Humira, and now Remicade.
prednisone did alleviate some of the pain.
morphine helped also.
i think i used VICS and menthol rubs on my chest too?
my rheummy RX'd LidoDerm patches to wear over the sterum & chest wall...that was pretty helpful.
also, i was attached to a heat pad on my chest for a good year!
after a good amount of inflammation was controlled...it did get better; now it's a non-issue and when it does act up it's never as bad as it was.
yeah...i felt so stupid going to the ER for this. i went like 4 times for pleuritis & costo, NON EMERGENCIES but of course when you call your doc he's like "oh you need to go to the ER"
i find that laying down helps...sitting straight up killed!
if you can try any Advil or some other NSAIDs perhaps that'll help the pain & inflammation.
but yeah, ya need to get your little butt to the rhuemmy girl! because THIS can be resolved & it can be so torturous so why suffer right?
august 2nd is right around the corner so if any of the tips can help...well hang on till then.
your PCP can definitely give you some LidoDerm samples to try (that's if he's not stingy & hoarding them for himself, lol)
most likely he will want ya to consult with a pulmonoligist too...long term RA that's gone untreated or that's very fast moving and severe can cause some serioud lung problems (some scarring or nodules)...that would have shown up on your films so don't freak out. ((((((((((hugs)))))))))))
hang in there...i hope something mentioned helps ya out a bit.
Arthritis Forum Moderator & Co-Pilot
Active Severe Rheumatory Arthritis. AS. Crohns Disease. A.Chiari Malformation & right brain venous anomoly. Partial Complex Seizures (under control!). MVP & Tricuspid Valve Prolapse. Rheumatic heart & lung. Kidney Stones (oh joy). Previous Lymes Disease for 10 years.
Meds: Remicade infusions 600mg Q3weeks; Intra-articular knee injections; 6MP 50mgQD plus 75mg weekly; Mesalamine 4GramsQD; Prednisone 20mgQD; Entocort 9mgQD; Meclizine; Augmentin; Tigan; Reglan; LidoDerm; Diazepam; Rozerem; Diclofenac; Celebrex; Dilaudid 4mg; Duragesic 25mcg/hour.