Can Ra Be Fatal
RA alone is not fatal. Fatality occurs due to complications associated with the inflammation caused by RA. In severe cases, patients can develop other medical conditions. The other medical conditions that patients need to be aware when it comes to shortened RA life expectancy include:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory conditions like Chronic Pulmonary Obstruction Disorder
Off course, these are conditions that everyone should be concerned about. Keeping your body healthy through diet, exercise, and positive habits will go a long way to reducing the risk of fatality from any of these conditions.
Ra Facts And Statistics
RA is a chronic disease affecting over 1.3 million Americans and as much as 1% of the worldwide population. The specific cause of RA is not known, and as a result there is no known cure for the disease.
Researchers do know, however, that RA is the result of an autoimmune disorder. It is one of the most common autoimmune disorders more common than psoriasis, Crohns disease, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. RA symptoms are triggered when a persons antibodies mistakenly attack the normal synovial joint fluid, causing chronic inflammation.
Women are up to three times more likely to develop RA than men. Women are also more likely to develop the disease at a younger age than men. RA generally begins to affect people between the ages of 30 and 60 years old. The average person doesnt develop symptoms of RA until they reach their 60s.
When To Seek Treatment For Signs Of Arthritis
If unexplained joint pain persists or worsens, it is time seek the experience of a trained medical professional. It is common to begin the treatment process by making an appointment with a primary care physician, who may refer the patient to an arthritis specialist, called a rheumatologist.
A physician may recommend using arthritis pain relief creams, such as JointFlex, oral medications, joint injections, or perhaps weight reduction based upon the early warning signs of arthritis. However, its important to remember that a prompt diagnosis can help preserve joint function and mobility for many years to come.
Also Check: Rheumatoid Arthritis Over The Counter Medication
Most People With Arthritis Are Under 65 Years Old
One of the reasons people assume arthritis is an inevitable consequence of aging is that the risk of developing the most common type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, increases with age. The risk of developing osteoporosis, a condition often confused with osteoarthritis, also increases with age. Yet, as the CDC points out, the majority of people with arthritis are under 65 years old.
Of people 18 to 44 years old, 7.1% report doctor-diagnosed arthritis, according to the CDC. Of people who are age 4564, 29.3% report doctor-diagnosed arthritis. In the 65 or older age group, 49.6% report doctor-diagnosed arthritis. While the risk of developing most types of arthritis increases with age, keep in mind that it is not the only contributing factor.
- Osteoarthritis onset usually occurs after the age of 40.
- Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune inflammatory type of arthritis, can develop at any age.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus usually develops between infancy and old age, with a peak occurrence between 15 to 40 years of age.
- Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed in middle age and prevalence increases with age.
- Childhood arthritis occurs in people up to 16 years of age.
Living With Rheumatoid Arthritis
There is no cure for RA. But it is important to help keep your joints working well by reducing pain and inflammation. Work on a treatment plan with your healthcare provider that includes medicine and physical therapy. Work on lifestyle changes that can improve your quality of life. Lifestyle changes include:
- Activity and rest. To reduce stress on your joints, switch between activity and rest. This can help protect your joints and lessen your symptoms.
- Using assistive devices. Canes, crutches, and walkers can help to keep stress off certain joints and to improve balance.
- Using adaptive equipment. Reachers and grabbers let you extend your reach and reduce straining. Dressing aids help you get dressed more easily.
- Managing the use of medicines. Medicines for this condition have some risks. Work with your healthcare provider to create a plan to reduce this risk.
- Seeking support. Find a support group that can help you deal with the effects of RA.
Also Check: Arthritis Drugs Side Effects
Your Everyday Life With Ra
It may be a shock when your doctor tells you that you have RA. You may be worried that you wonât be able to stay in your job, stay active, or clean your house. You may fear that your body will change or that you wonât be able to have an enjoyable, full life.
But you can treat and manage your RA. Newer, more aggressive treatments help more people stay active and control their pain. These advances mean you could have a better quality of life with RA than many people diagnosed before you.
Your doctor will tell you to exercise. Do it. Exercise is good for your joints if you have arthritis. No matter what activity you do, it can give you more energy, strengthen your muscles and bones, and improve your quality of life. If youâre worried about doing any activity with RA, talk to your doctor or physical therapist first.
You can also stay on your career track. If RA symptoms make some of your work duties difficult, you have a legal right to ask your employer to make reasonable changes. You can ask for an ergonomic desk. You can ask for flexible work hours or a relaxed dress code.
Some activities are not a good idea if you have RA. Donât smoke. Even social smoking can make your inflammation worse. Your RA can become more severe when you smoke. Youâre less likely to go into remission. If you smoke, quit or get help to quit. Skip alcohol, too. It can affect the way your meds work. Get more tips on living with RA.
Prediction Of Early Ra
A patient with inflammatory arthritis may pass several stages from the onset of arthritis to a specific form of rheumatic diseases such as RA . The first phase is the period leading up to the onset of arthritis .The second is the period during which persistence or remission is determined. The third and the fourth phases are the evolution into specific form of inflammatory arthritis and the outcome/severity of that arthritis. In some patients, these four phases follow in rapid sequences whereas in other patients the time course may prolong and continue for several months or years. Different genetic backgrounds and environmental factors or treatment can affect the various evolutionary phases of arthritis and alter the natural history of initial inflammatory arthritis .
Don’t Miss: Can Arthritis Cause Itchy Skin
How Many Canadians Live With Rheumatoid Arthritis And How Many Are Newly Diagnosed Each Year
Approximately 374,000 Canadians aged 16 years and older live with diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis and 23,000 were newly diagnosed in 20162017. The prevalence and incidence of diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis generally increase with age and are higher among females compared to males .
Figure 1: Prevalence of diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis by sex and age group, Canada,Footnote a 20162017
- Footnote a
Key Points About Rheumatoid Arthritis
- RA is a long-term that causes joint inflammation.
- RA can also affect many nonjoint areas such as the lungs, heart, skin, nerves, muscles, blood vessels, and kidneys.
- RA may cause deformities in the joints of the finger, making movement difficult.
- The joints most often affected by RA are in the hands, wrists, feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, and elbows.
- Symptoms may include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling decreased and painful movement bumps over small joints and fatigue or fever.
Recommended Reading: Coffee Rheumatoid Arthritis
What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, which means that your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body.
RA mainly attacks the joints, usually many joints at once. RA commonly affects joints in the hands, wrists, and knees. In a joint with RA, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed, causing damage to joint tissue. This tissue damage can cause long-lasting or chronic pain, unsteadiness , and deformity .
RA can also affect other tissues throughout the body and cause problems in organs such as the lungs, heart, and eyes.
Aging Affects The Musculoskeletal System
Aging does affect the musculoskeletal system. Our bones constantly undergo a process of bone absorption and bone formation, together known as remodeling. As we age, the balance between absorption and formation changes, leading to bone loss. Our bones become less dense and more fragile. The composition and properties of cartilage change as well. There is less water content in cartilage as we age, reducing its ability to cushion and absorb shock. Cartilage also goes through a degenerative process which is when arthritis can develop. Ligaments and other connective tissues become less elastic and flexible with age. Because of the changes that occur within the musculoskeletal system as we age, our joints typically develop a decreased range of motion. As cartilage breaks down, joints may become inflamed and painful.
However, according to OrthoInfo, a publication of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the changes that occur in our musculoskeletal system are due more to disuse than aging. The Department of Health and Human Services cited that in 2017, less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week.
A commitment to exercise may counteract some of the effects of aging. We should view exercise as essential, not as optional.
Also Check: Ra Leg Pain
Is Juvenile Arthritis Young
Juvenile Arthritis is the most common type of arthritis in children under 16. It used to be called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. While RA and JIA are similar and both have symptoms of swelling and pain, they differ in prognosis. RA is a progressive, chronic condition while JIA is usually outgrown. Therefore, JIA doesn’t fall into the group of young-onset RA patients.
How Is Ra Diagnosed
Another common blood test is the rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies. These blood tests are used to test for the presence of proteins produced by your immune system that can attack the healthy tissue in your body.
Young-onset patients will more often have seropositive RA, which means these blood tests will come back positive. The rheumatoid factor blood test is positive for about 70% of people with RA.
Young-onset RA shows up in blood work more often, which is a signal the disease can be more severe and progress quicker. While this is true, it should be noted that when healthcare providers analyze blood tests, they will look at the whole picture and a positive test doesn’t necessarily mean the person has RA.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for RA. For those diagnosed with RA at a young age, it’s crucial to get treatment immediately, due to progression, severity, and likelihood of joint deformity and damage with time. Treatment options abound. With the goal of remission, studies show medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs yield the best results.
Don’t Miss: Do You Get A Rash With Rheumatoid Arthritis
Measures To Reduce Bone Loss
Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis can cause bone loss, which can lead to osteoporosis. The use of prednisone further increases the risk of bone loss, especially in postmenopausal women.
You can do the following to help minimize the bone loss associated with steroid therapy:
- Use the lowest possible dose of glucocorticoids for the shortest possible time, when possible, to minimize bone loss.
- Get an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D, either in the diet or by taking supplements.
- Use medications that can reduce bone loss, including that which is caused by glucocorticoids.
- Control rheumatoid arthritis itself with appropriate medications prescribed by your doctor.
Ra And Your Social Life
Young adults with RA can date and get married just like people who donât have arthritis.
- Take pain meds in advance so you can enjoy sex without joint aches.
- If RA causes fatigue or joint pain in the mornings, plan to have sex in the evenings.
- Focus on what makes you feel good, not what you donât like about your body.
Learn more about how to manage RA and your relationships.
Also Check: Are Peanuts Bad For Arthritis
What Are The Complications Of Ra
Rheumatoid arthritis has many physical and social consequences and can lower quality of life. It can cause pain, disability, and premature death.
- Premature heart disease. People with RA are also at a higher risk for developing other chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. To prevent people with RA from developing heart disease, treatment of RA also focuses on reducing heart disease risk factors. For example, doctors will advise patients with RA to stop smoking and lose weight.
- Obesity. People with RA who are obese have an increased risk of developing heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Being obese also increases risk of developing chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. Finally, people with RA who are obese experience fewer benefits from their medical treatment compared with those with RA who are not obese.
- Employment. RA can make work difficult. Adults with RA are less likely to be employed than those who do not have RA. As the disease gets worse, many people with RA find they cannot do as much as they used to. Work loss among people with RA is highest among people whose jobs are physically demanding. Work loss is lower among those in jobs with few physical demands, or in jobs where they have influence over the job pace and activities.
Drug Treatments And Challenges
Your doctor will probably give you the same drugs used to treat early-onset RA. These include:
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
You might have more challenges with your medication, especially if you take drugs for other health conditions. This boosts your chances of a bad reaction to the medicine.
You may also have a harder time with drug side effects. NSAIDs increase your chances of heart, brain, gut, and kidney problems. Corticosteroids up the odds of glaucoma, osteoporosis, and other health problems.
Don’t Miss: Remedies For Arthritis Pain In Hands
Eat Well Stop Smoking And Do What You Can To Stay Healthy
Adopting healthier habits may make living with RA easier, says Husni, adding that youll want to keep up with and even improve the healthy habits you already do have.
For instance, now is not a good time to increase your smoking, she says, and if you do smoke, you should really make an effort to quit smoking. Smoking is the strongest modifiable risk factor for RA, according to the CDC, increasing your risk by 1.3 to 2.4 times the habit also interferes with the effectiveness of some RA medications.
If you are overweight, this might be the time to lose some weight, because it may contribute to excess stress on your joints in addition to the RA, she notes.
Diet is another modifiable risk factor. Healthy eating cant necessarily stop or cure RA, but it can help you live better with it, says Husni.
There arent many studies that have a strong connection between what you eat and how well you feel with RA. Existing research is either based on small numbers of people or dont show definitive advice on what to eat long-term. Still, if you check with your physician, you may find some relief by following a Mediterranean diet, which is high in vegetables, fruit, and seafood, according to a study published in May 2018 in Rheumatology International.
Other Health Conditions May Affect Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
The CDC reports that about 47 percent of U.S. adults with arthritis also have at least one other condition, referred to by doctors as a comorbid condition.
So another crucial step in treating RA is to find out if you have any comorbidities. Its very important to see if you have any associated diseases or disorders that your rheumatologist needs to take into account,says Husni.
If you have depression, for example, your rheumatologist may not want to prescribe certain RA medications, because they could make your depression worse.
Another example is if you have a family history of multiple sclerosis. In that case, there are some other medications that cant be prescribed , Husni notes.
It’s also important to have a primary care physician who oversees all aspects of your health, and who can help treat any comorbid conditions you may have, along with the rheumatologist.
Also Check: Spinal Arthritis Prognosis
Helping Your Child Live With Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Help your child manage his or her symptoms by sticking to the treatment plan. This includes getting enough sleep. Encourage exercise and physical therapy and find ways to make it fun. Work with your child’s school to make sure your child has help as needed. Work with other caregivers to help your child take part as much possible in school, social, and physical activities. Your child may also qualify for special help under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. You can also help your child find a support group to be around with other children with JIA.