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Rheumatoid Arthritis May Shorten Life Span

Rheumatoid arthritis brings more than discomfort, new research shows it is linked to early death due to heart and respiratory problems.

Rheumatoid arthritis may raise the risk of early death by as much as 40 percent, with heart and respiratory problems the most common contributors to a shortened life span, a new study suggests.

And among those who died of respiratory causes, one of the main causes of death was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the researchers reported.

The findings provide new evidence to support previous research suggesting a link between rheumatoid arthritis and increased risk of early death, and they point to the need for doctors to closely monitor these patients, the study authors said.

However, the study only showed an association, and not a cause-and-effect relationship, between rheumatoid arthritis and risk of premature death.

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