(HealthDay News) -- Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that can trigger inflammation in the joints and nearby tissue throughout the body.

But joint pain and destruction aren't the only potential complications, the National Center for Biotechnology Information says. The disease also can result in:

  • Anemia, if the bone marrow can't produce sufficient amounts of red blood cells.
  • Lung tissue damage (rheumatoid lung).
  • Spinal cord damage, due to instability of bones in the neck.
  • Inflamed blood vessels (rheumatoid vasculitis), which may lead to problems affecting the skin, nerves, heart and brain.