Assessment
Questionnaire

Have a symptom?
See what questions
a doctor would ask.
 

Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis

Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis: Introduction

The types and severity of symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis varies between individuals. At the onset of the disease, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be vague and develop slowly. They may not include the classic symptom of joint pain that people often associate with arthritis. These indistinct, early symptoms may include fatigue, loss of appetite, and weakness. Other early symptoms include muscle achiness throughout the body and stiffness that lasts more than one hour after rising in the morning. Ultimately, joint pain develops and can be accompanied by inflammation and swelling in the joints. Joint pain generally affects wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles on both sides of the body. Joint destruction may develop within 1-2 years after the onset of the disease.

Other symptoms may include problems with the eyes, deformities in the hands and feet, fever, paleness, anemia, nodules under the skin, swollen glands, and redness and inflammation of the skin.

Because of the generalized inflammatory nature of rheumatoid arthritis, it can affect almost any organ in the body and lead to life threatening complications. These include rheumatoid vasculitis, a type of inflammation of the blood vessels, which can lead to atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack and other cardiac conditions. Skin ulcerations and infections, bleeding stomach ulcers, and nerve problems that cause pain, numbness, or tingling may also occur. The eyes can also be affected and the neck bones can become instable....more about Rheumatoid arthritis »

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms: At the onset of the disease, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be vague and develop slowly. They may not include the classic symptom of joint pain that people often associate with arthritis. These indistinct, early symptoms may include fatigue, loss of appetite, and weakness. Other early symptoms include muscle achiness throughout the body and stiffness that lasts more than one hour after rising in the morning. Ultimately, joint pain develops and can be accompanied by inflammation and swelling in the joints. Joint pain generally affects wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles on both sides of the body. Joint destruction may develop within 1-2 years after the onset of the disease.

Other symptoms may include problems with the eyes, deformities in the hands and feet, fever, paleness, anemia, nodules under the skin, swollen glands, and redness and inflammation of the skin.

Because of the generalized inflammatory nature of rheumatoid arthritis, it can affect almost any organ in the body and lead to life threatening complications. These include rheumatoid vasculitis (inflammation of the blood vessels) which can lead to atherosclerosis, stroke, heart attack and other cardiac conditions, skin ulcerations and infections, bleeding stomach ulcers, and nerve problems that cause pain, numbness, or tingling. The eyes can also be affected and the cervical spine (bones in the neck) can become instable....more about Rheumatoid arthritis »

Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Rheumatoid arthritis includes the 29 symptoms listed below:

Research symptoms & diagnosis of Rheumatoid arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis: Symptom Checkers

Review the available symptom checkers for these symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis: Symptom Assessment Questionnaires

Review the available Assessment Questionnaires for the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis: Complications

Review medical complications possibly associated with Rheumatoid arthritis:

Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing of medical conditions related to Rheumatoid arthritis:

Research More About Rheumatoid arthritis

Do I have Rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Diseases that may be commonly undiagnosed in related medical areas:

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical tests related to Rheumatoid arthritis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis?

The list of other diseases or medical conditions that may be on the differential diagnosis list of alternative diagnoses for Rheumatoid arthritis includes:

Rheumatoid arthritis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

More about symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis:

More information about symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis and related conditions:

Other Possible Causes of these Symptoms

Click on any of the symptoms below to see a full list of other causes including diseases, medical conditions, toxins, drug interactions, or drug side effect causes of that symptom.

Article Excerpts About Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis:

Handout on Health Rheumatoid Arthritis: NIAMS (Excerpt)

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease that causes pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function in the joints. It has several special features that make it different from other kinds of arthritis (see information box below). For example, rheumatoid arthritis generally occurs in a symmetrical pattern. This means that if one knee or hand is involved, the other one is also. The disease often affects the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hand. It can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints (see illustrations below). In addition, people with the disease may have fatigue, occasional fever, and a general sense of not feeling well (malaise).

Another feature of rheumatoid arthritis is that it varies a lot from person to person. For some people, it lasts only a few months or a year or two and goes away without causing any noticeable damage. Other people have mild or moderate disease, with periods of worsening symptoms, called flares, and periods in which they feel better, called remissions. Still others have severe disease that is active most of the time, lasts for many years, and leads to serious joint damage and disability.

Although rheumatoid arthritis can have serious effects on a person's life and well-being, current treatment strategies--including pain relief and other medications, a balance between rest and exercise, and patient education and support programs--allow most people with the disease to lead active and productive lives. In recent years, research has led to a new understanding of rheumatoid arthritis and has increased the likelihood that, in time, researchers can find ways to greatly reduce the impact of this disease.

Features of Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Tender, warm, swollen joints.
  • Symmetrical pattern. For example, if one knee is affected, the other one is also.
  • Joint inflammation often affecting the wrist and finger joints closest to the hand; other affected joints can include those of the neck, shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, ankles, and feet.
  • Fatigue, occasional fever, a general sense of not feeling well (malaise).
  • Pain and stiffness lasting for more than 30 minutes in the morning or after a long rest.
  • Symptoms that can last for many years.
  • Symptoms in other parts of the body besides the joints.
  • Variability of symptoms among people with the disease.
(Source: excerpt from Handout on Health Rheumatoid Arthritis: NIAMS)

Handout on Health Rheumatoid Arthritis: NIAMS (Excerpt)

Some people also experience the effects of rheumatoid arthritis in places other than the joints. About one-quarter develop rheumatoid nodules. These are bumps under the skin that often form close to the joints. Many people with rheumatoid arthritis develop anemia, or a decrease in the normal number of red blood cells. Other effects, which occur less often, include neck pain and dry eyes and mouth. Very rarely, people may have inflammation of the blood vessels, the lining of the lungs, or the sac enclosing the heart. (Source: excerpt from Handout on Health Rheumatoid Arthritis: NIAMS)

Understanding Autoimmune Disease: NIAID (Excerpt)

In people with rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system predominantly targets the lining (synovium) that covers various joints. Inflammation of the synovium is usually symmetrical (occurring equally on both sides of the body) and causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. These features distinguish rheumatoid arthritis from osteoarthritis, which is a more common and degenerative "wear-and-tear" arthritis. (Source: excerpt from Understanding Autoimmune Disease: NIAID)

Arthritis: NWHIC (Excerpt)

In rheumatoid arthritis, the hands are most commonly affected, but it can affect most joints of the body. Inflammation begins in the synovial lining and can spread to the entire joint.

Painful and knobby bone growths in the fingers are common, but usually not crippling to osteoarthritis. The disease is often mild, but can be quite severe. (Source: excerpt from Arthritis: NWHIC)

Arthritis Advice -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA (Excerpt)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be one of the more disabling forms of arthritis. Signs of RA often include morning stiffness, swelling in three or more joints, swelling of the same joints on both sides of the body (both hands, for example), and bumps (or nodules) under the skin most commonly found near the elbow. RA can occur at any age and affects women about three times more often than men. (Source: excerpt from Arthritis Advice -- Age Page -- Health Information: NIA)

Rheumatoid arthritis as a Cause of Symptoms or Medical Conditions

When considering symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis, it is also important to consider Rheumatoid arthritis as a possible cause of other medical conditions. The Disease Database lists the following medical conditions that Rheumatoid arthritis may cause:

- (Source - Diseases Database)

Rheumatoid arthritis as a symptom:

For a more detailed analysis of Rheumatoid arthritis as a symptom, including causes, drug side effect causes, and drug interaction causes, please see our Symptom Center information for Rheumatoid arthritis.

Medical articles and books on symptoms:

These general reference articles may be of interest in relation to medical signs and symptoms of disease in general:

About signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis:

The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis. This signs and symptoms information for Rheumatoid arthritis has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of Rheumatoid arthritis signs or Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they are indeed Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

 

By using this site you agree to our Terms of Use. Information provided on this site is for informational purposes only; it is not intended as a substitute for advice from your own medical team. The information on this site is not to be used for diagnosing or treating any health concerns you may have - please contact your physician or health care professional for all your medical needs. Please see our Terms of Use.

Home | Symptoms | Diseases | Diagnosis | Videos | Tools | Forum | About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Map | Advertise