Video Q & A:

RA Progression

Question:

Is rheumatoid arthritis fatal?

Expert:   Kenya Beard , ACNP-BC, Hunter College »

RA patients don't pass away from joint damage, but some complications from the disease are potentially fatal. Find out how to prevent these complications.

Transcript: Joint damage and pain can be severely debilitating, but rheumatoid arthritis is NOT fatal. And while life expectancy for people with rheumatoid arthritis has not risen over the past 40 years, as it has in the general population, people who have been diagnosed since the advent of medications called biologics, may change that statistic dramatically in the years to come. Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune condition – and chronic inflammation is a trigger for everything from joint damage to heart disease. So if RA is not controlled with disease modifying drugs, inflammation can inflict damage. But with those medications the potential damage can be prevented and the disease may even go into remission. That’s good news. But there is even more you can do to help roll back the risks that come with having rheumatoid arthritis. Heart disease and lack of mobility –and all the health risks that creates –are NOT a foregone conclusion. You can avoid these complications by starting treatment EARLY, STICKING to your medication, and EXERCISING every day. Work with a physical therapist and your healthcare provider to determine the best activities for your particular situation. Eating a healthy diet, rich in lean proteins, whole grains and lots of veggies PLUS making sure you have enough vitamin D3 and omega-3s to help control inflammation, can do a lot to boost your long-term wellbeing. Remember, millions of people with rheumatoid arthritis manage their disease successfully and live a long, productive life. You can too. More »

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