Rheumatoid lung disease

  • Definition
  • Alternative Names
    • Lung disease - rheumatoid arthritis; Rheumatoid nodules; Rheumatoid lung

  • Causes
    • Lung problems are common in rheumatoid arthritis. They often cause no symptoms.

      The cause of lung disease associated with rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. Sometimes, the medicines used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, especially methotrexate, may result in lung disease.

  • Symptoms
  • Exams and Tests
  • Treatment
    • Many people with this condition have no symptoms. Treatment is aimed at the health problems causing the lung problem and the complications caused by the disorder. Corticosteroids or other medicines that suppress the immune system are sometimes useful.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)
    • Outcome is related to the underlying disorder and the type and severity of lung disease. In severe cases, lung transplantation can be considered.

  • Possible Complications
  • When to Contact a Medical Professional
    • Call your health care provider right away if you have rheumatoid arthritis and you develop unexplained breathing difficulties.

  • References
    • Corte TJ, duBois RM, Wells AU. Connective tissue diseases. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 65.

      Lake F, Proudman S. Rheumatoid arthritis and lung disease: from mechanisms to a practical approach. Semin Respir Crit Care Med. 2014;35:222-238. PMID: 24668537