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The Effect of Rheumatoid Arthritis on Mortality

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Updated January 20, 2013

Question: The Effect of Rheumatoid Arthritis on Mortality
Answer: If it isn't frightening enough to be told that you have a potentially crippling disease, once patients begin to read about their condition, they are faced with the reality that they might die 10-15 years earlier than expected. This is what the older literature says. What it doesn't say is whether a few, some, or all rheumatoid arthritis patients suffer this fate.

The prognosis for RA is uncertain, because of the prolonged course of disease, the fact that the disease is so variable, and that many patients never even see a doctor for treatment, and therefore, are never counted in the statistical pool. When death does come prematurely it is usually from infection, pulmonary and renal disease, and GI bleeding. In my personal experience, this is not a common occurrence with today's current treatment.

Answer provided by the late Dr. Raymond Federman, a well-respected rheumatologist, also known as Dr. Bones.

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