8 Common Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis That You Need to Know


Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease. This condition may affect your joints all around the body. However, rheumatoid arthritis often affects the knees, hands, fingers, and feet. Chronic inflammation may contribute to joint deformity and even destruction. This disease starts slowly with mild symptoms that appear periodically and become more intense over time. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may vary from patient to patient but there are some that are more common.

Below you can find 8 most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. If you suspect that you have rheumatoid arthritis it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible. If left untreated rheumatoid arthritis can cause irreversible damage to your joints. 

1. Fever

Fever is a symptom that often occurs during an active stage of inflammation. The patient may experience body temperature changes and dizziness. Since patients with rheumatoid arthritis often take medications that worsen immunity it is important to contact a doctor as soon as you feel unwell. Any viral infection in patients with rheumatoid arthritis may require immediate treatment and rheumatoid treatment adjustment. 

2. Fatigue

Fatigue is one of the first symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis that may appear a few months before the onset of other symptoms. You may feel unusually tired and exhausted without a clear reason. This feeling may appear periodically and be accompanied by mental disorders like depression. 

3. Limited range of motion

Rheumatoid arthritis causes your joints to inflame and swell. Swelling may decrease the range of motions and mobility of your joints significantly. The affected area becomes weak. It is very important to get immediate medical help if you experience a limited range of motion in the joint. Joints that were affected by rheumatoid arthritis usually lose their mobility prematurely. Early treatment may help you save joint mobility and the quality of your life. 

4. Depression

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition that is associated with pain and disability. This increases your risk of depression significantly. Patients often feel frustrated and depressed. This kind of depression is called “ reactive depression”. It appears as a response to certain situations like rheumatoid arthritis. 

Depression may also develop as a result of chronic inflammation. Inflammatory response of the immune system often affects the periphery and the central nervous system contributing to depressed mood.

5. Joint deformity

Chronic rheumatoid arthritis may cause deformity of the joint. It happens because of uncontrolled inflammation. Severe inflammation may result in cartilage and bone erosion. This may also cause knee, finger, and ankle pain. In addition to hard tissues, inflammation may affect ligaments and make them laxity. It is very important to start rheumatoid arthritis treatment as early as possible to prevent permanent joint damage and deformity. 

6. Joint swelling

Joint swelling is probably one of the most common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Some patients experience mild swelling that is difficult to notice while others may have severe swelling. It is easy for people who have rheumatoid arthritis to tell when the joints swell. Patients often report a limited range of motion. Severe swelling can make it impossible to wear your shoes since feet increase in their size. 

7. Stiffness in the morning

Stiffness in the mourning is one of the earliest signs of rheumatoid arthritis. It occurs immediately as you wake up and disappears after a few minutes. Over time as the disease progresses, this symptom may get worse without proper treatment. In severe cases, the morning stiffness may last up to several hours. You may also experience stiffness after staying inactive during a long period of time. 

8. Anemia

Anemia is one of the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Chronic inflammation that is associated with rheumatoid arthritis may cause bone marrow to release less red blood cells. Thus, the number of red blood cells in circulation decreases contributing to anemia. To fight anemia it is important to correct inflammation at first.