The life expectancy of rheumatoid arthritis patient is difficult to determine as it is a chronic disease and is likely to be progressive. Its symptoms have a tendency to get worse with the time. Its causes are not clearly known but according to doctors it is probably caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
As the cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not known therefore its cure is not known. However, there are various treatments available for it that can prolong the lives of patients.
It is found that the life expectancy of patients is not reduced due to the disease itself but it’s the complications associated with the disease that shorten the life expectancy of patients. The complications associated with rheumatoid arthritis such as respiratory and cardiovascular conditions, can get complex over the time and result in the shortened lifespan.
Some of the complications associated with rheumatoid arthritis are:
- Osteoporosis: It is a condition which weakens the bones and makes them susceptible to fracture. Its risk increases due to development of rheumatoid arthritis and some of the medicines used in its treatment.
- Heart problems: Rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher risk of hardened and blocked arteries and the inflammation of the sac which enfolds the heart.
- Lung disorder: Rheumatoid arthritis causes an increased risk of inflammation and scarring of the lung tissues that can result in the shortness of breath.
- Lymphoma: It is a group of blood cancers, which occur in the lymph system. Its risk is higher in the patients of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Rheumatoid nodules: These are firm bumps of tissue that can form anywhere in the body.
- Dry eyes and mouth: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis are prone to develop Sjogren’s syndrome, which is a disease in which the moisture in the eyes and mouth is decreased.
- Infections: The condition of rheumatoid arthritis and the medicines used in its treatment can damage the immune system, resulting in infections.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: If rheumatoid arthritis affects the wrists of patients, then the inflammation can compress the main nerve which supplies blood to the hand.
Research on rheumatoid arthritis has progressed a lot over the past many decades. Today, the patients with rheumatoid arthritis can prevent complications by working closely with their rheumatologist at an earlystage. They can continue an appropriate treatment to prevent symptoms from worsening.
However, in some cases, patients suffer severe symptoms even after working actively with their rheumatologist that can result in shortened life expectancy.
Is There Any Difference Between the Life Expectancy of Men and Women Suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Women are more susceptible to develop rheumatoid arthritis as compared to men. Also, the symptoms in women are more severe and the disease course is usually more progressive and can involve more complications, whereas men do not suffer that many severe symptoms. They are at risk for experiencing other complications due to the disease such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
On What Factors the Life Expectancy of Rheumatoid Patients Depends?
Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease, which makes patients suffer complications in the long-term. There are many factors that determine the life expectancy of rheumatoid arthritis patients:
- Age at Diagnosis: People who are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a young age usually suffer more severe symptoms because they start to suffer from symptoms from an earlier age. Due to longer duration of disease, the life expectancy for some patients can be shortened.
- Complications: Patients with rheumatoid arthritis have weakened the immune Therefore they are at higher risk of developing serious health problems.
- Smoking: According to researchers there is a strong link between smoking and the severity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms in the patients. Smoking leads to lung inflammation that triggers rheumatoid arthritis antibodies and worsens the condition of the patient.
Do the Treatments Improve Life Expectancy of Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients?
The prognosis of patients with rheumatoid arthritis improves if the treatment is started at an early stage. Patients can live a good quality of life if the treatment is started before too much damage caused by the symptoms.
The main objective of rheumatoid arthritis treatment is to decrease the pain and improve quality of life. Many patients are able to live a good life by following treatment plans and making lifestyle adjustments.