By now you’re already aware that RA currently has no known cure and is a lifelong condition. The rheumatoid arthritis prognosis all depends on several things as well as the goals for treatment. Controlling the symptoms, stopping the disease from getting any worse, preventing disability, and maintaining the ability to live a normal as can be life are some of the top areas to look at.
When most people get diagnosed with RA, several questions pop up right away.
The two things that need to be talked about with your doctor and family is getting started with aggressive treatment right away and what to prepare for the long term. Several factors influence the long-term outlook, let’s go over a few:
- How soon were you diagnosed? If it’s caught early, there are several antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) that can help greatly.
- Which joints and how many are affected
- Have you lost any function yet
- How soon did you start treatment
- Do you support the recommended drug treatment plan by your doctor
- Is there a family history of RA
- Did your RF (rheumatoid factor) test come back positive
- How extensive is the inflammation
- Has joint destruction been identified
Some other things that can influence the long term prognosis of RA and all of these can have a negative impact, these include lung infections, bones becoming brittle due to Osteoporosis, and atherosclerosis which is the hardening of the arteries and can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
What can help keep these to a minimum would be getting an annual flu shot and Pneumovax, treatment for osteoporosis with biphosphates, and stop smoking if you do. We already know how bad smoking is for you in the first place but it can also compound your RA. On top of that, the other hazards from smoking such as lung cancer, emphysema, and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases your risk for hardened arteries and greatly increasing your risk for heart attacks and strokes.
If any of these conditions develop, early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for preventing potentially serious complications that can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. Some measures can be taken by patients and their physicians to help reduce the risk of these complications.
The prognosis for RA is based on how advanced the disease is when it was first diagnosed. Always the key here is early diagnosis, always. Some other factors include how long you’ve had the disease (or when the disease started), and how old the patient was when first diagnosed. Was the RA determined to be just a flare, in remission, or can it be managed with medicines and treatments?
Let’s go over some of the risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis. These include:
Age – developing RA increases with age (30-50)
Gender – 2 to 3 times higher risk for women than for men
RF (rheumatoid factor) – is a risk factor
Smoking – people who smoke are 2-4 times more likely to develop RA
Coffee – there is no definite ruling on this yet, each side has their own pros and cons so it’s not worth worrying about at the moment.
A sudden onset can occur in about 20% of RA patients and then have many years of no symptoms at all (considered prolonged remission) whereas some can have symptoms that come and go. Those with intermittent symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can have flares that last for months. Most people that get RA suffer from the chronic type. The rheumatoid arthritis prognosis is not always the same for each person but there are ways to stay on top of it.
Related Rheumatoid Arthritis articles:
What is rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Prognosis
Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms
Rheumatoid Arthritis Diet
Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis
How does rheumatoid arthritis start
The stages of rheumatoid arthritis