Joint pain is one of the most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It often joined by with warmth, redness, tenderness and swelling of the joints. Symptoms usually affect both sides – both hands, both wrists, both feet, etc. Another characteristic of RA is stiffness, most often in the morning but stiffness can occur any time of the day usually after resting. Systems will vary depending on the severity of the disease. The symptoms mean that all the joints are affected and left untreated will result in damage and deformity to joints. The sooner you can get a diagnosis, the better.
Pain and stiffness are not the only characteristics of RA. With RA, the immune system attacks the body and therefore, symptoms can be felt throughout the entire body. Other symptoms that RA sufferers may include, but are not limited to:
Fatigue and extreme tiredness;
Difficulty concentrating/lack of focus;
Low grade fevers;
Difficulty performing daily activities; and
RA can really affect one’s quality of life. It can make you too tired to participate socially, zaps away your energy levels and causes sadness and down feelings. If you think you are experiencing symptoms related to RA, you should see your family physician or a rheumatologist (a specialist in joint diseases). Be sure to write down your specific symptoms because blood work alone may not determine a case for RA.