Can arthritis be fatal or just painful?

Arthritic Antics. It depends on the type of arthritis you're dealing with. Oddly enough, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can predispose a person to more serious issues with the lungs, heart and kidneys which could ultimately lead to death. Ra has also been associated with some predispositions to lymphoma. Degenerative arthritis, post injury, would not nor would osteoarthritis be directly associated with fatalities.