RA--attacking the heart?

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/4/2008 11:00 PM (GMT -7)   
I have been told that  RA is possibley attacking the muscles around my heart and that may be the cause of my tiredness, short breath and chest discomfort.  I have had an angiogram in case of blockage but that is all clear.  Has anyone had similar problems.
I am waiting for more tests.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3199
   Posted 1/4/2008 11:12 PM (GMT -7)   
hey there livefree.. welcome to healingwell.. yes, RA can attack your heart and lungs as well.. I don't know a lot about this, but the other Arthritis Mod, Erin does.. she will be along shortly to add her thoughts as well.. How long have you had RA?
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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 1/5/2008 9:15 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello Ducky, nice to hear from you. I was diagnosed with RA 10 years ago, but I must have had it at least 3-4 yrs before that.  I worked nights and looked after a parent with alzheimers during the day.  I was always sick and with pain in my legs but attributed it to my lifestyle.  I was a careworker in a nursing home and finally I was answering call bells in a patients wheelchair.One morning I could hardly drive home from work and went to a chiropractor a couple of times and he insisted I go see my family doctor.  That is when I was diagnosed.  I took a year leave of absence from work with the hope of returning to my job, that was not to be.  After that I had to quit work.  Eight years ago I was told I would be in a wheel chair soon because I was having tremoundous pain and difficulty walking and doing stairs.  Then I started on Arava for about 5 yrs.  (Before that I had tried Prednisone, Methotrexate, celebrex, vioxx. and whatever there was around).Lastly, I am now on enbrel for the last 2-3 yrs.. My insurance did not cover it before that. Most recent I have been having chest problems--still to resolve what the problem is. Take care, and may we always keep on walking and holding strong.

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Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3148
   Posted 1/8/2008 1:26 PM (GMT -7)   
hi livefree :-)
i wish you the best with what you're having to deal with right now.  but yes, RA can effect the heart & lungs.
endocarditis & pericarditis is not uncommon w/ RA.
this can lead to mitral valve prolapse & murmurs.
i developed mitral & tricuspid valve prolapse plus pluritis & emphysema from complications of RA over the past 10 years.
only when i go to exert myself am i reminded ihave them, trying to eat sometimes is too taxing, get's me too short of breath.
a pulmonologist consult is a good idea for the future.
i get bad swelling in the legs do you?
what's next?...do you have a follow up w/ the cardiologist?
rest well
Arthritis Forum Moderator & Co-Pilot
Active Severe Rheumatory Arthritis. AS. Crohns Disease. A.Chiari Malformation. MVP & Tricuspid Valve Prolapse. Kidney Stones (oh joy). 
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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 147
   Posted 1/9/2008 9:08 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Livefree,
I am sorry for you having to go through this. I also had RA attack my heart and lungs. 11/06 I was diagnosed with pleurisy, then 12/06 pericarditis, then 1/07 vasculitis in one of the main arteries to the heart along with myositis on the heart muscle itself,(myocardi***). Also a heart murmur and mitral valve prolapse. It took me along time to start to feel a little better. Right now I still have breathing troubles, short of breath and tire easily. What tests have you done so far. I think I had 3 ekg's, echocardiogram, 1 mega scan (sp) then I had that cardio test where they go in through the groin. I can't remember the name.. anyway I will pray for you. Keep us updated please!
 Diagnosis: Fibro, RA, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Heart Murmur, Sinus Tachycardia, IBS, Anxiety, Depression, insomnia: Meds: Serax, Prednisone, Prilosec, Hydrocodone/acetaminaphen, Effexor, Baby aspirin, Zetia, Methotrexate, Enbrel ... /Vitamins: Calcium, Magnesium, Folic acid, Vitamin D, Fish oil 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2007
Total Posts : 1042
   Posted 1/11/2008 5:48 AM (GMT -7)   
Morning Livefree

I have also suffered from heart problems brought on by my R/A
Pericarditis started up in Dec/03, and that was when I was put on prednisone. Everytime my old rheumy tried to get me off the pred, the pericarditis wud come back, both times I was in ICU
In September of last year, I found a new rheumy, and he has been very successful (touch wood) getting me off of the pred, and onto methotrexate, and so far, I have had no chest discomfort.
Just curious, but along with your sore chest, are any of your ribs sore?
Has your doctor checked you for fibro or lupus?
I am asking about the sore ribs because of a condition called costochondritis which can make you feel like it;s your heart that's hurting, and shortness of breath, difficulty breathing when trying to lay flat in bed. Just a thought.

I hope you start feeling better soon
Gentle Hugs
Fibromyagia, R/A, Diabetes, Atrial Fib, depression

Prednisone(Jan 1, down to 3 mg/daily), methotrexate, folic acid, metformin, diamicron, bisoprolol, plaquinal, fenofibrate, pantoloc, wellbutrin, propafenone, ibprofen, warfarin

What doesn't kill us, makes us stronger

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