21 Common Signs And Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by chronic joint pain and inflammation. This disease results from a problem with the immune system. In people with RA, the immune system doesn’t work properly and mistakenly attacks the lining of their joints, called the synovium. This causes inflammation, making the joints stiff, swollen, and painful.
The symptoms of RA commonly affect the hands, wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles, and typically the same joint on both sides of the body. RA may also be referred to as a rheumatoid disease because it sometimes affects other organs in the body, such as the eyes, heart, and lungs. Symptoms of RA may vary from person to person, often beginning with minor symptoms that progress over a period of weeks or months. People with RA may have bouts of symptoms called flare-ups, but they may also experience long, inactive periods without symptoms.
While the early signs of RA may resemble those of other diseases, learning to spot the characteristic symptoms of this chronic illness may lead to early diagnosis, treatment, and management of arthritis to prevent joint damage and disability.

Early Warning Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

The primary symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. However, while you may not yet have swelling in the joints, you may experience tenderness and other early signs. Some of these warning signs may relate to how you feel overall while others may be specific to your joints. Symptoms that affect your joints are more likely to indicate RA, especially if many joints (polyarthritis) or both sides of your body (symmetric) are affected.
The early symptoms of RA include the following: morning stiffness, joint stiffness, pain, tenderness, swelling, redness, warmth, and deformity, decreased or loss of joint range of motion, loss of joint function, limping, numbness and tingling, fatigue, muscle weakness, anemia, slight fever, weight loss, depression, and insomnia.
You may also experience other symptoms during the early stages of RA, such as eye discharge, dry, itchy, or inflamed eyes, dry mouth, chest pain that worsens when you breathe (pleurisy), hard bumps of tissue under the skin on your arms, loss of appetite, and malaise or a general feeling of discomfort.