Left untreated—or undertreated—many people with rheumatoid arthritis develop some form of disability, so early, aggressive treatment is key to maintaining an active life.
Signs and Symptoms of RA
The most common symptoms of RA are:
- Morning joint stiffness—usually in the hands or feet—that lasts more than 30 minutes to an hour after getting out of bed
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in three or more joints
- Symmetrical joint pain (i.e., joints on both sides of the body are affected)
- Pea-size lumps, called nodules, under the skin
- Chronic low-grade fever
- Loss of appetite
- Accumulation of fluid (swelling) in your ankles or behind your knees
Pain, stiffness and other symptoms similar to those of rheumatoid arthritis can be caused by many things, from a viral or bacterial infection, to Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus (another type of arthritis), fibromyalgia or simply an injury or strain.
If you experience unusual or persistent pain of any kind, make an appointment with a doctor to determine what may be causing your symptoms.
What are the causes and risk factors of RA?