What are the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
There are many symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) including swollen joints, joint pain, fatigue and weight loss which are just a few. Many websites provide lists of RA symptoms, but what do these symptoms mean? Do you have them all? Do you just have a few symptoms? Do they happen all at the same time? Do some happen overtime? I want to come up with a complete list of symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. If you are a patient that suffers from RA, what would you list as a symptom? Can we go into detail on each symptom? I think we can, but my first task is trying to list out the symptoms. I would love to do a post discussing each symptom and what they mean to a person living with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The search for RA symptoms
I started by doing a search on Google for “Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms“. I want to find websites I trust, so I pick out a few that are medical centers or resources that I recognize like Mayo Clinic, WebMD, University of Maryland and the National Library of Medicine. Let’s see what they include as symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Mayo Clinic provides the following list of symptoms for RA:
Joint painJoint swellingJoints that are tender to the touchRed and puffy handsFirm bumps of tissue under the skin on your arms (rheumatoid nodules)FatigueMorning stiffness that may last for hoursFeverWeight loss
The website does go on to describe other symptoms like difficulty sleeping and weakness. They also have more in-depth details on dry eyes, inflammation of the eye, Glaucoma, Cataracts, painful breathing (pleurisy), shortness of breath, lung nodules, and scarring of the lungs.
University of Maryland Medical Center
UMM provided me the following list of RA Symptoms: stiffness, swelling, pain, nodules, fluid buildup, and flu-like symptoms like fatigue, weight loss and fever. Also, they noted in children there can be high fevers and shaking chills along with the pain and swelling.
WebMD provides me the following list of symptoms: joint pain, and swollen, tender and stiff joints on both sides of the body. These included morning stiffness, nodules, fatigue, and loss of appetite, weight loss, mild fever, numbness, and tingling in the hands.
MedlinePlus / National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health
The NIH / MedlinePlus provided me with the following list of symptoms for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Loss of appetite
Eventually, joint pain appears.
Morning stiffness, which lasts more than 1 hour, is common. Joints can even become warm, tender, and stiff when not used for as little as an hour.
Joint pain is often felt on both sides of the body.
The fingers (but not the fingertips), wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, toes, jaw, and neck may be affected.
The joints are often swollen and feel warm and boggy (or spongy) to the touch.
Over time, joints lose their range of motion and may become deformed.
Chest pain when taking a breath (pleurisy)
Eye burning, itching, and discharge
Nodules under the skin (usually a sign of more severe disease)
Numbness, tingling, or burning in the hands and feet
Joint destruction may occur within 1 – 2 years after the disease appears.
These websites provided many symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis. What do these symptoms mean? Are we missing symptoms? Can we define them in any other way? My next post will be on just fatigue, how would you describe the fatigue? Wiped out, tired, or exhausted? Are there different levels of fatigue that you deal with? Is it always there or does it come and go? Does it get worse the more you try to do things? How does fatigue affect your daily life? Please add your symptoms and comments below.