Ways to prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis rash & skin problems are not often talked about but are part of the daily management of rheumatoid arthritis.
Now, we will tackle the less famous but equally important problem of people with RA… Rash & Skin Problems.
But first, let’s discuss some of the types of skin problems related to RA, their symptoms, and what causes them.
Skin Problems to Watch Out for If You Have RA
It affects the blood vessels that supply blood to the fingers and toes which causes sores and redness on the skin.
The most serious forms occur in larger blood vessels, such as in the legs, which may cause painful rashes and ulcers.
Less than 5% of patients with RA develop this type of problem and are often not severe.
This condition is more common in people who have been living with RA for more than a decade.
- Spots and patches on the surface of the skin.
- Pain sensation
Inflammation of the blood vessels.
If you’re looking for more information about Rheumatoid Vasculitis, this is a great resource that can help:
A skin condition not normally associated with RA but is common in people with Rheumatoid Vasculitis.
It is often more evident during cold weather.
- A net-like pattern of purplish lines.
- Appears as a discoloration of the skin and mostly on the legs.
- Painful nodules
Blood vessels spasm or circulation abnormality near the skin surface.
If you want to learn more about Livedo Reticularis, this article provides detailed information: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001478.htm
Hard lumps that form under the skin.
Nodules are not normally painful and can be treated to reduce their size.
Most of the time, these nodules are painless but it may also cause some discomfort, depending on where it is located.
- Lumps range from a size of a pea to a golf ball
- May develop over bony or fleshy areas of the body like the elbow, knuckles, forearms, fingers, knees
Infection or an autoimmune reaction when your body overreacts to its own tissues.
If you want to know more about RA nodules, this article will provide a more detailed explanation about the condition: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319839#treatment
These are the type of rashes that are believed to be allergic reactions to the medications.
- Easy bruising due to either thinning of the skin or interfering with blood clotting.
- Sun sensitivity
- Skin rashes
Allergic reactions to some medications for RA.
You may learn more about this condition by reading this article: https://www.rheumatologyadvisor.com/home/topics/rheumatoid-arthritis/rheumatoid-arthritis-medications-and-sun-exposure-what-your-patients-should-know/
Similar to medication rashes but is not dependent on the medication reaction.
- Itchy, red welts on the skin.
A physical reaction to an external irritant that is taken orally or comes in contact with the skin.
Learn more about chronic hives here: https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/chronic-autoimmune-illnesses-linked-to-chronic-hives
9 Ways to Prevent RA Associated Skin Problems
#1 – Stick with your medication
Complying and taking your medications on time will most likely help you avoid RA flare-ups which will help in preventing skin problems due to RA.
#2 – Control Your RA
Like with all other ailments, controlling your RA will likely prevent you from getting skin problems associated with RA.
#3 – Sun protection
Use sunscreen and minimize your sun exposure.
Having RA puts you at risk for some types of skin cancer and would also make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
#4 – Don’t smoke
A Mayo Clinic Study states that smoking may influence RA incidence and that smokers are at a higher risk.
#5 – Boost Your Immune System
Take vitamins and eat healthily.
These are the most common thing that you can do to help your body fight RA and its associated complications.
#6 – Manage Your Weight
Being overweight may have an effect on the body’s way of absorbing medication, thus making RA flare-ups more frequent.
It may also trigger associated conditions such as skin rashes.
Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and lean proteins.
This may help in maintaining your weight and in turn, protect you from having skin problems associated with RA.
#7 – Lessen or Avoid Stress
We all know that stress can have a major physical impact on the body.
In people living with RA, stress means that the body’s inflammatory response will be triggered and may cause flare-ups.
Taking measures to avoid stress such as taking up meditation, reading, taking a walk, or doing other activities will promote relaxation.
It is advisable to always keep our mental health in check to avoid flare-ups and possible skin conditions related to RA.
#8 – Increase Mobility
Doing regular low-impact exercises will help with your blood circulation and decrease the chances of having RA flare-ups as well as the associated skin rashes.
Doing simple things like walking, swimming, or doing yoga will do wonders in maintaining your mobility.
#9 – Get Plenty of Rest
Giving yourself the luxury of rest will help you minimize RA flare-ups, reduce the level of stress you are in, and decrease fatigue symptoms.
Make sure you get enough sleep every day to keep you well-rested not feel tired.
It is important to maintain a routine that works for you to make sure you go to sleep early and have enough rest.
Overall, to prevent skin problems related to RA and its medication, you must take care of yourself and your body.
Taking your medicine on time and consistently, eating healthy, managing stress, getting plenty of rest, and making sure you exercise daily are simple ways to take care of your body, mind, and spirit.
Having RA is known for causing pain in the joints and the feeling of fatigue.
Due to this, people with RA are more likely to experience depression than a person without RA.
Giving importance to your mental health will help tremendously in how you handle your condition and help yourself overcome the hardships you experience living with RA.
Should you experience one or more RA symptoms of the skin problems mentioned above, it is important that you speak to your doctor right away.
Your doctor will be able to help you determine the underlying cause/s of your skin problems and may help you eliminate, if not manage, the condition.