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Rheumatoid Arthritis IS A Deadly Disease!

Most of us know someone who has rheumatoid arthritis (RA). And while we are all familiar with the disfiguration and disability it can cause, we don't think about it being a fatal disease.  The recent death of the Eagle's Glenn Frey brings this issue front and center.  His death was apparently due to rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and pneumonia.  That brought me to thinking that this is an appropriate time to raise this issue.

First off, while many of my posts are about complementary and alternative medicine...my main reason for sharing these is to help people to understand that opioid therapy should be a last resort rather then a first line therapy.  Rheumatoid arthritis is really a systemic disease, and while many of the posts I share can be of help, they should not be used as stand alone treatments for this particular condition.  Early medical intervention is key to getting RA under control before too much damage is done.

I shared a post earlier on in my blog about the seriousness of RA and potential damage to the joints and the cardiovascular system.  You can read this post by clicking here.  I would also like to share with you some other potentially deadly issues that can affect a person with RA.







So, without further ado:

--Numerous studies have indicated that persons with RA live shorter lifespans...six to eleven years shorter than their non-RA counterparts. This is especially true for women, for those who test positive for rheumatoid factor, and for those who have uncontrolled rheumatoid arthritis.

--Obesity, periodontal disease, and high salt intake can shorten the lifespan of an RA patient.  These risk factors can be eliminated by adopting lifestyle changes, and they are well worth the effort!

--When a person has a chronic illness such as RA, any additional illness or conditions put more burden on an already taxed system.  This is what is known in medical terms as "comorbidity."

--Surgery is a more complex issue for RA patients due to the systemic nature of the illness.   The potential risks and benefits of surgery should be considered in advance of the procedure in question.

--Pneumonia is one of the top causes of death in RA patients.  This may be due to the debilitative aspect of RA, the use of immune modifying drugs in treatment, or comorbid conditions in a given patient.

--As mentioned in the post I shared above, RA can damage a patient's cardiovascular system(inflammatory process affects the heart and circulation).  New data shows that up to 20% of RA patients may also have chronic interstitial lung disease.

--Cancer is one of the top causes of death in RA patients, primarily due to non-Hodgkins lymphoma, lung cancer and skin cancer.

Sources: MedPageToday; Everyday Pain Management Ideas; Wikimedia


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