We are using cookies to give you the best experience on our site. Cookies are files stored in your browser and are used by most websites to help personalise your web experience.

By continuing to use our website without changing the settings, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more
For more information, go to

Goal 6 - Reduce the number of deaths and severe complications from arthritis in all its forms.

Reduce the number of deaths and severe complications from arthritis in all its forms

Our objective

The risk of life threatening complications of severe arthritis will be substantially reduced as a consequence of earlier and more effective treatment with the risk of premature death falling by 40 per cent.

How we will measure progress

We will monitor existing studies that are monitoring survival in adult and childhood arthritis and gather data on trends and a number in rarer diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and scleroderma.

Where we are now

A generation ago patients with rheumatoid arthritis were more likely to have an important reduction in life expectancy.  With new approaches to treatment and better overall care the situation, life expectancy has improved but for patients diagnosed under the age of 50 there is still a small but definite increased risk of premature death.  Other rarer disorders such as SLE also reduce life expectancy, depending on the severity of the condition, with up to 20% of patients not surviving 5 years after diagnosis. New immunosuppressive therapies appear to be both safer and more effective but it may be necessary to take a cancer chemotherapy approach by treating those with severe disease more effectively early on.   Life expectancy is also enhanced when patients are treated by those with the greatest experience and expertise.

What we will be doing:

  • Working through our Clinical Studies Groups in the relevant disorders to trial appropriate modern therapies, both singly and in combination
  • Working with biotech and pharmaceutical companies to appropriately test and evaluate the role of new therapies
  • To continue to monitor the outcome following any new therapies to ensure no reduction in safety
  • Educate where appropriate to ensure that best practice is carried out universally
For more information, go to
Arthritis Research UK fund research into the cause, treatment and cure of arthritis. You can support Arthritis Research UK by volunteering, donating or visiting our shops.