Lung diseases rank as the second highest cause of death in people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. (Second only to heart disease).
Rheumatoid Arthritis can affect the lungs in many ways. About 10% of patients develop rheumatoid nodules of the lung. The most common, and the most serious co-morbidity is Interstitial Lung Disease, leading to Pulmonary Fibrosis, which can ultimately be fatal.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is also being recognized more and more as a complication of RA.