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Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Posted Feb 21 2010 9:44pm

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long term condition that affects different parts of the body, but the joints are always involved.  Symptoms can come and go.  Each individual with the disease can have varying affects of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Some people are very lucky that they experience long periods of remission.  When in remission you have few if any symptoms of the disease.  When it is active, the symptoms can last for months at a time and be almost constant.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms – Joint Inflammation

Joint inflammation encompasses many of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.  Stiffness and limited range of motion are one of the major symptoms.  Morning stiffness, a symptom that affects those suffering from all forms of arthritis can be especially difficult for the person affected with RA.  It can take them more than an hour, at times several hours before they are able to feel any looseness in their joints.

The swelling from fluid collecting in the joint can also limit the mobility and contribute to the stiffness.  When the joint is swollen and inflamed it becomes tender, and more sensitive to pain.  Long term swelling can cause damage that will affect the pain in the joint. When a joint is inflamed you may notice that it is slightly pinker or discolored than the skin around it.  You may also notice that the temperature of the skin around the joint is warmer.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms Can Affect All Joints of the Body

Any joint can be affected by RA; the jaw, neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, from your head to your toes. Almost always the hands are affected.  Usually joints are affected symmetrically on each side of the body.  These joints can be affected for months at a time and the painful swelling and stiffness can be debilitating and constant. It can dramatically affect a person’s ability to perform their activities of daily living and lead to other problems such as depression.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms that Affect the Body

The effect of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms on the body are a result of the process of inflammation.  These can include fatigue, loss of appetite which leads to weight loss, achy muscles and a general feeling of malaise.  These symptoms are usually comparable to the flu, but with RA they are less severe and last longer.

Involvement of multiple areas of the body in cases of moderate to severe RA can occur. The lungs can be affected by either inflammation or damage as a result causing shortness of breath.  The lining around your heart can become inflamed, causing shortness of breath or chest pain.  The risk of developing clogged arteries is more prevalent in people with RA which can lead to heart attack.  RA nodules, which appear as bumps under the skin can appear and further inhibit mobility of a joint. If you exhibit rheumatoid arthritis symptoms you should see your doctor.  It has been shown that an early and aggressive treatment can prevent and stop further progression of the disease.

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