The best treatment of RA needs more than medicines alone. Patient education, such as how to cope with RA, also is important. Proper care often requires a team of providers, including rheumatologists, primary care physicians, and physical and occupational therapists. You will need frequent visits through the year with your rheumatologist. These checkups let your doctor track the course of your disease and check for any side effects of your medications. Also, you likely will need to repeat blood tests and X-rays or ultrasounds from time to time.
The newest class of arthritis drugs, referred to as biologics , may positively impact the prognosis and life expectancy in people with rheumatoid arthritis—welcome news for anyone with the disease. A meta-analysis published in 2016 in Joint Bone Spine revealed that TNF blockers effectively reduce chronic inflammation in people with rheumatoid arthritis, decrease mortality, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events—all without significantly increasing the risk of cancer compared to conventional disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
A family history of RA increases the risk around three to five times; as of 2016 it was estimated that genetics may account for between 40 and 65% of cases of seropositive RA, but only around 20% for seronegative RA.  RA is strongly associated with genes of the inherited tissue type major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigen HLA-DR4 is the major genetic factor implicated – the relative importance varies across ethnic groups.  Genome-wide association studies examining single-nucleotide polymorphisms have found around one hundred genes associated with RA risk, with most of them involving the HLA system (particularly HLA-DRB1 ) which controls recognition of self versus nonself molecules; other mutations affecting co-stimulatory immune pathways, for example CD28 and CD40 ), cytokine signaling, lymphocyte receptor activation threshold (., PTPN22 ), and innate immune activation appear to have less influence than HLA mutations.