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Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis Medications (cont.)

What Are the Risks of Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis causes joint damage, leads to considerable disability, and shortens lifespan. The disability may be so severe that individuals cannot work and movement and independent living are very limited. Lifespan is shortened by about 5-10 years in people whose conditions do not respond well to treatment. The chance of early death is increased by complications such as infections, cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) disease, or gastrointestinal bleeding. These complications may be due to rheumatoid arthritis or to side effects from the medications used to treat it.

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