10 Signs You Have Rheumatoid Arthritis 

Jul 20, 2020

Scientists estimate that  1.3 million Americans  have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). You may have the condition and not know it. Unfortunately, this form of arthritis can cause joint deformities as it worsens. Therefore, you want to understand the signs, so you may receive the necessary treatment to prevent complications.

1. Fatigue 

The signs of RA usually occur gradually occur over the course of weeks or months. Fatigue is often one of those early symptoms. If you have RA, you may feel tired, even if you don’t overexert yourself. You might not always feel fatigued. In fact, this symptom may come and go and could last for different durations with every bout.

2. Swelling 

Another sign of RA is joint swelling. If you have this form of arthritis, your body’s immune system mistakenly identifies your joints as an intruder. As a result, your immune system attacks your joint linings. These linings then experience inflammation and will appear swollen. You’ll notice that your joints look puffier than usual. The swelling will also cause your joints to feel tender.

3. Pain

The inflammatory response of RA can lead to pain. This pain may arise when you’re at rest or when you’re in motion. Generally, the joint pain occurs on both sides of your body. In its early stages, this condition tends to affect your wrists and fingers first. Sometimes, however, you’ll also suffer from pain in the following areas:

  • Shoulders

  • Feet

  • Ankles

  • Knees

4. Stiffness 

You might suffer from joint stiffness as well. This symptom is more common when you first wake up. This stiffness can last for several hours before you can use that joint as usual. In some individuals, the stiffness will occur during any time of the day.

5. Numbness and Tingling 

Additionally, numbness and tingling are possible as a result of the inflamed tissue placing pressure on the surrounding nerves. Pressure on a nerve can also cause a burning sensation.

6. Noise 

If you have RA, you might notice that your joints make noise when you move them, usually a crackling or squeaking sound. This sound arises when your joints grind against your damaged cartilage.

7. Change in Range of Motion

Your range of motion may change too, especially as your RA worsens. Your ligaments and tendons lose their stability, and a deformity could occur. As this happens, you start to lose your ability to move as you once did. The pain from this condition can also reduce your range of motion.

8. Fever 

You might also have a low-grade fever, meaning that it’s less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, a high-grade fever doesn’t occur in individuals with RA. Instead, a high-grade fever may signify an infection or another issue. Moreover, if you don’t have other signs of RA, your low-grade fever may have another cause.

9. Aches

In addition to these other symptoms, you might also notice you have muscle aches. These aches occur for the same reason you have joint pain.

10. Shortness of Breath 

Besides pain and other joint-related symptoms, RA can also affect your lungs and cause shortness of breath. A lung problem from RA is a serious complication, especially for people who smoked in the past. In most cases, lung problems from RA develop when you’re in your fifties or sixties.

You might feel pain and suffer every day because you can’t function like you once did if you this condition. Your RA might even travel beyond your joints. However, help is available. A rheumatologist can detect RA early before it progresses, as long as recognize the signs and seek help.

Book an appointment with Sarasota Arthritis Center, serving Sarasota, FL and the general vicinity, if these symptoms currently affect your life by  calling us today.

Related News

3 Bad Habits Can Make Arthritis Worse

If you suffer from the pain and stiffness of arthritis, you can benefit from an understanding of how your own daily habits and behaviors contribute to your condition.

5 Key Questions About Vasculitis

Inflammation plays an important role in your body's ability to defend and heal infected or injured tissues by helping the immune system direct white blood cells to the area in need of assistance.

4 Things Menopausal Women Should Know About Osteoporosis

Menopause brings about many changes in a woman's body. One such change women experience is a decrease in the production of estrogen.

Take Control of your symptoms today.

We are able to see patients by appointment only. If you need to cancel an appointment, please contact our office at least 24 hours in advance. To expedite the check-in process prior to your appointment, please complete the pre-registration paperwork that will be emailed and texted to you through Phreesia. Please bring your insurance cards, method of payment, and identification with you to every appointment.