Studies have found an association between rheumatoid arthritis and a shortened lifespan. This is different than saying that rheumatoid arthritis itself causes an early death. The symptoms that develop as a result of an aggressive rheumatoid arthritis disease course, are what put patients at a greater risk for a lower life expectancy.
An exact life expectancy is almost impossible to predict due to the varying nature of the disease. In general, patients can expect that the rheumatoid arthritis life expectancy could be shortened by roughly 10 years to as many as 15 years. This is dependent on a number of factors including sex, age, medical history, lifestyle, and overall levels of health and wellbeing.
Despite these study results, it’s also important to note that many rheumatoid arthritis patients live well into their 80’s and 90’s which is an average expected lifespan.