Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that affects the joints, causing pain and inflammation. While RA can be difficult to diagnose at an early stage, watch out for these 8 early signs of RA to help detect the condition sooner.
1. Joint Pain and Stiffness: Early signs of RA can include joint pain and stiffness, usually in the wrists, fingers, or feet. Stiffness is often worse in the morning or after a period of inactivity and may last for several hours after getting out of bed.
2. Swelling in the Joints: Swelling and tenderness in the wrists, fingers, toes, and other joints can also be a sign of RA. The swelling may come and go, but it can be a sign that the disease is progressing.
3. Fatigue: Chronic fatigue is another common symptom of RA. While fatigue is a normal part of life and can be caused by many things, if you find yourself feeling unusually exhausted during the day it could be a sign of RA.
4. Low-Grade Fever: While a fever is not always present with RA, some people may experience a low-grade fever or a feeling of warmth in the body.
5. Loss of Appetite: Loss of appetite is another common symptom of RA. You may experience a decrease in appetite and a feeling of fullness even after eating smaller amounts of food.
6. Lumps or Knots: RA can cause lumps or knots to form on the skin over affected joints. These are known as rheumatoid nodules and can be painful and tender.
7. Weakness in Muscles: Weakness in the muscles is another symptom of RA. You may feel weak in the muscles around affected joints or in the larger muscle groups.
8. Morning Stiffness That Lasts More Than an Hour: Having stiffness in the morning that lasts more than an hour could be a sign of RA. Stiffness that lasts more than an hour is often a sign that the disease is progressing.
If you are experiencing any of these 8 early signs of RA, see a doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent joint damage and long-term disability.