5 Early Signs Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Identifying these 5 early signs of rheumatoid arthritis can help you to be diagnosed early in the disease. While there is not a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, there are an increasing number of ways to ease symptoms and help patients to lead more comfortable lives. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation. This inflammation is usually isolated to the body’s joints.
- Joint pain. The earliest symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is usually joint pain. The pain typically begins in the smaller joints including the wrists, ankles, feet, and hands. While joint pain is an early symptom of many different conditions, rheumatoid arthritis joint pain is often symmetrical, with both sides of the body affected in the same place.
- Joint swelling. Swollen joints, often accompanied by pain or sensitivity, are another early sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Swelling may come and go, but it will generally last at least one hour. The hands may appear extremely swollen, red, and puffy.
- General fatigue. People with rheumatoid arthritis often experience fatigue that is compounded by difficulty sleeping. Extreme tiredness may be accompanied by decreased appetite, weight loss, and an overall feeling of weakness.
- Bumps near joints. Small bumps known as rheumatoid nodules can develop near the joints. This occurs in one-third of people with rheumatoid arthritis, but it is a telltale sign of the disease.
- Stiff joints in the morning. Extreme stiffness in the morning that gets better as the day progresses may be a sign of early rheumatoid arthritis. This stiffness can last from one hour to several hours before beginning to improve. It can also occur after sitting for extended periods of time.