Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Increased pain and stiffness in the morning and after inactivity—common in multiple joints
- Morning stiffness and pain that usually lasts 30-60 minutes
- Red, swollen, warm joints
- Deformed, misshapen joints
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- Intense fatigue, decreased energy
- Muscle aches
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Fever and sweats
- Problems sleeping
- Bumps occurring under the skin—rheumatoid nodules
- Dislocation of the cervical spine—Joint damage can weaken the small bones and supporting tissues in the neck.
- Connective tissue disorders—Inflammation can compress nerves in the joints, which may affect sensation and mobility.
- Respiratory conditions—Inflammatory responses damage and scar lung tissue making breathing difficult.
- Cardiovascular problems—Inflammation in blood vessel walls narrows the arteries. Narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the heart and brain, making the heart pump harder, which can lead to heart failure . Blood clots can get trapped in narrowed arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke
- Inflammation of the artery walls— arteritis
Handout on health: Rheumatoid arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Rheumatic%5FDisease/default.asp. Updated August 2014. Accessed October 30, 2014.
Rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/conditions-treatments/disease-center/rheumatoid-arthritis. Accessed October 30, 2014.
Rheumatoid arthritis. The Merck Manual Professional Edition website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/musculoskeletal%5Fand%5Fconnective%5Ftissue%5Fdisorders/joint%5Fdisorders/rheumatoid%5Farthritis%5Fra.html. Updated May 2013. Accessed October 30, 2014.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 10, 2014. Accessed October 30, 2014.
Wasserman AM. Diagnosis and management of rheumatoid arthritis. Am Fam Physician. 2011;84(11):1245-1252.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2015 -
- Update Date: 05/20/2015 -
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