Managing rheumatoid arthritis This musculoskeletal condition can have debillitating effects on patients, writes Beverley Bostock-Cox. Recognising rheumatoid arthritis Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic, progressive auto-immune disease. The prevalence of RA in England is around 1.4%, meaning that 580,000 people aged 16 years and over have RA, and there are 26,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Women with RA at risk of premature birth Babies of women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are about 50% more likely to be born prematurely, according to a study from Copenhagen University Hospital that reviewed all births in Denmark between 1977 and 2008. Smoking and salt interact to increase RA risk An interaction between smoking and sodium chloride (table salt) seems to increase rheumatoid arthritis (RA) risk, according to researchers from Sweden. Chronic pain, heartburn and CV risk In-depth analysis of the latest research, compiled by Mark Greener Management of inflammatory arthritis Primary-care nurses can play a vital part in supporting patients with inflammatory arthritis Optimising outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis Prompt referral of patients with suspected RA can help to optimise treatment outcomes, writes Susan Oliver. Patient-centred care in rheumatoid arthritis Current treatments for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are failing to control patients' pain adequately, and healthcare professionals are not fully addressing patients' concerns, new research suggests.