How does duration of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affect prognosis?

Updated: Feb 07, 2020
  • Author: Howard R Smith, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Answer

RA that remains persistently active for longer than 1 year is likely to lead to joint deformities and disability. [30] Periods of activity lasting only weeks or a few months followed by spontaneous remission portend a better prognosis.

A study by Mollard et al of 8189 women in a US-wide observational cohort who developed RA before menopause found greater functional decline in postmenopausal women than in premenopausal ones; furthermore, the trajectory of functional decline worsened and accelerated after menopause.  However, ever-use of hormonal replacement therapy, ever having a pregnancy, and longer length of reproductive life were associated with less functional decline. [31]


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