Rheumatoid arthritis can affect nearly every part of the body. Damage to your joints may make it difficult or impossible to go about your daily activities. For further complications, that may include:
- Joint deformities
- Cervical spine problems (can be life threatening)
- Painless, hard, round or oval masses called nodules that appear under the skin
- Pleuritis (inflammation of the lungs)
- Rheumatoid vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels)
- Pericarditis (inflammation of the outer lining of the heart)
- Myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle)
- Heart failure
- Eye inflammation
- Heart disease
The course of the disease varies between people. People with a certain antibody in the blood (anti-CCP) or nodules may be at risk for faster progression of the disease. People who develop RA at younger ages also tend to have faster disease progression.
Although complications may shorten the life expectancy of people with RA, treatment is constantly improving and newer medications offer more hope for remission.
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