Feeling a little hoarse? Yes, it could be rheumatoid disease

arthritis autoimmune cricoarytenoid joint rheumatoid arthritis rheumatoid disease throat

close up of the front of a woman's throat. the woman has blonde hair in a braid.

Do you experience a husky voice or breathing issues?

You are not alone. A recent study showed that up to 50% of rheumatoid patients experience hoarse voice, laryngitis and/or breathing issues.

These symptoms can be related to the cricoarytenoid joint in the throat. The joint sits in the back wall of the larynx. It is involved in opening, closing, and tightening your vocal cords when you speak or breathe.

The joint sits inside a joint capsule that is lubricated with synovial fluid. The synovial lining of the capsule is affected by the inflammation caused by rheumatoid disease, which in turn may reduce the mobility of the joint.

This joint is often overlooked during routine rheumatology appointments. Many rheumatoid patients are unaware that rheumatoid can affect this joint and cause these symptoms. 

Tell your rheumatologist if you experience any of these symptoms on an ongoing basis:

  • pain when swallowing, breathing, coughing or talking
  • a feeling of having something stuck in your throat
  • difficulty breathing, huskiness or painful cough



Autoimmune Diseases, Volume 2013, Laryngeal Manifestations of Rheumatoid Arthritis, A.L.Hamden, D. Sarieddine.

Biomedical Research (2017) Volume 28, Issue 4, An often overlooked joint in rheumatoid arthritis: cricoarytenoid joint, Bozbas G, Gunel C, Gurer G, Karatas R and Ermisler B, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Adnan Menderes University, Turkey

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