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Rheumatoid Arthritis Center

Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Throughout our lives, we experience some type of joint pain.  But, how can you tell the difference between the symptoms of normal joint pain that comes from playing too much football, versus the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis? 

Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Full symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis tend to develop over time, not necessarily suddenly.  RA affects both sides of the body, usually starting in the hands, feet, knees, and wrists, before moving to larger joints of the body, such as the jaw, hips, and shoulders; it does not just affect one side of the body.  This type of arthritis is different to joint injury that happens as a result of overuse, sports or sudden impact; joint inflammation may occur within moments if due to a sudden impact.  People who exhibit symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may notice the following signs:

  • Difficulty moving joints
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Hard bumps (called rheumatoid nodules) just under the skin near the joints, most often found on fingers, as small as a pea or as large as a walnut
  • Loss of appetite
  • painful and swollen joints, especially in your hands, feet and knees
  • Red, puffy hands
  • Stiffness and pain in affected joints (especially after sleeping)

Other symptoms may include inflammation of the salivary glands, tear glands, and the lining of the heart and lungs. 

When to seek help
If symptoms of RA last more than 2 weeks, or if you experience severe pain in the joints, see a doctor.  This way, s/he can make a proper diagnosis as to whether or not you have rheumatoid arthritis.  To learn more about how your doctor will make the diagnosis and diagnose possible rheumatoid factor, read more now.

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