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Rheumatoid Arthritis Fast Facts


  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects 580,000 people in England, which suggests that over 690,000 adults in the UK live with the condition.1 In Ireland, 40,000 people live with RA.2
  • RA affects women three times more than men1
  • RA mainly occurs amongst adults between the ages of 40-60 but it can occur at any time during a patient’s life.1

Symptoms of RA

The most common symptoms include:1

  • loss of weight
  • fatigue
  • swelling of the joints
  • flu-like symptoms
  • morning joint stiffness
  • pain

Productivity with RA

  • RA can have a dramatic impact on productivity given the disabling effects of the disease
  • Research has shown that among people who have given up work or retired early because of their RA; over a quarter (28.4%) had to stop working within one year of diagnosis, and over half (59%) within six years.3

Disease and outcomes

  • More than 10 million adults in the UK visit their GPs presenting arthritic symptoms4
  • This increases with age and it is reported that 1 in 10 people aged between 15-24 seek medical advice for joint problems each year4

Types of treatment:

Depending on the severity and stage of the disease, several different types of drug therapies may be used in monotherapy or in combination to manage symptoms of RA:1

  • Non-steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Analgesic drugs
  • CorticosteroidsDisease Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs (DMARDs)
  • Biological therapies


1. National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (accessed May 2012)

2. Arthritis Ireland. Arthritis Facts. (accessed October 2012)

3. National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. Employment and rheumatoid arthritis: A national picture. National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society Survey 2007.

4. Arthritis Research UK. Arthritis in the UK – key Stats. November 2008

Oct 2012 - UK/12CI0087a