Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints, causing inflammation, pain and stiffness. The disease can affect your life expectancy due to various factors.
According to Mayo Clinic, just as osteoarthritis which damages the joints by wear and tear, so does rheumatoid arthritis affects the linings of the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also damage other organs and tissues in the body over time, due to chronic inflammation.
A study published in HealthDay News shows how suffering from rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of premature death by almost 40%. Most of the cases of premature death caused from rheumatoid arthritis are the result of a lung or heart complication such as obstructive pulmonary disease which can appear simultaneously with RA. The study managed to show only a link between premature death and RA without an actual cause.
Healthline states that the life expectancy for rheumatoid arthritis depends on your age the moment you are diagnosed and other aspects regarding your health. The disease can present itself in a more severe way for rheumatoid arthritis patients that also have antibodies called rheumatoid factors.
Patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have higher risks of developing complications such as heart disease says Healthline. Patients with RA are more likely to develop cancer, the more common type cancers being lung cancers and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. An autoimmune disease such as RA can make your body more exposed to infections. According to a study, these infections might be the cause of 36% of premature deaths in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
Normally, the life expectancy of a patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, on average, is approximately 10 years shorter than that of a normal person, according to Healthline. People with rheumatoid arthritis can improve their symptoms and slow down or actually reverse the further development of the disease by treating the disease as early as possible and by changing their lifestyle to a healthy one.
Dr. Jeffrey Sparks at the rheumatoid division of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston stated that information gathered from recent studies indicates the fact that both patients and doctors need to be fully aware of the life-threatening complications that can be caused by rheumatoid arthritis. They should treat any complication that arises as soon as possible.