Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes your immune system to attack your joints and other tissue. If left untreated, it can lead to joint damage, limited mobility, and chronic pain. Unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are one of the leading causes of adult chronic disability.
Fortunately, there are a few symptoms that let you know if you have the disease before it progresses too far. Unfortunately, not everyone gets them or recognizes them once they do appear. As a result, these symptoms may be what keep you from getting the care you need sooner instead than later. If you have Rheumatic arthritis or suspect that you might, check out these symptoms so you can catch it as soon as possible.
Morning stiffness or stiffness throughout the day
Morning stiffness is a fairly common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. It’s reported by around 78% of people with the condition. It’s most common in the morning when your muscles are stiff from the overnight lack of movement. As a result, the stiffness is often accompanied by pain, especially when you put pressure on your joints. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with RA, the stiffness you’re experiencing is likely joint stiffness, not muscle stiffness.
Joint stiffness can happen when muscles begin to tighten, as they do when we get out of bed in the morning. However, if you experience joint stiffness throughout the day, it could be a sign that your arthritis is getting worse. Joint stiffness is a common early symptom of RA, but it usually goes away after a few hours. If you have joint stiffness all day, it could be a sign that your RA is getting worse. You may want to talk to your doctor about seeing if any treatment options might help you.
Weight fluctuation and unexplained weight loss
Low-grade inflammation is the root cause of Rheumatoid Arthritis, so it’s not surprising that the combination of low-grade inflammation and increased insulin resistance is associated with weight fluctuation. Insulin resistance is when your body is less able to respond to insulin, which regulates glucose levels in your blood.
Insulin resistance can also be associated with other conditions, including type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia, and binge-eating disorders.
A condition called metabolic syndrome is associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Metabolic syndrome is commonly defined as having three or more of the following conditions: hypertension, central obesity, insulin resistance, and abnormal cholesterol levels.
If you’ve been suffering from chronic inflammation for a long time, it’s common for your body’s metabolism to change, resulting in weight fluctuation. Low-grade inflammation is what causes insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, so you can expect the two to go hand in hand.
Easy bruising or unexplained bleeding
Unexplained excessive bleeding may be an early sign of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Rheumatic diseases damage the small blood vessels in your skin. This type of damage is called a hematoma and can lead to a range of symptoms, including swelling, warmth, tenderness, and redness. This type of bleeding is usually a result of increased pressure within the blood vessels, possibly due to low-grade inflammation.
While easy bruising may be a symptom of many medical conditions, unexplained bleeding may be a sign of RA. Low-grade inflammation is associated with low blood pressure and damaged blood vessels, which can lead to bleeding. If you have RA, low blood pressure and damaged blood vessels are common symptoms.
Development of certain skin symptoms
Skin symptoms can occur at any point in the disease process. Early in the course of the disease, they may be an early sign of RA. However, they can also occur in other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and Sjogren’s syndrome.
The most common skin symptom in RA is dry skin, which occurs in about half of people who have the condition. Dry skin is often caused by low-grade inflammation. It’s also associated with skin damage and skin infections, which can be a sign of poor health. It’s important to protect your skin while you have RA. Dry skin can be helped by using a moisturizer that contains ceramides, a waxy lipid that helps the skin retain water.
Extreme fatigue or no improvement with rest
Fatigue is another unusual symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, occurring in about half of people with the condition. Fatigue is associated with increased inflammation and low-grade inflammation. Your immune system uses energy to attack your body’s cells. When it attacks your joints, this energy is released as pain, swelling, and limited joint movement. If you have RA and experience fatigue, it may be a sign that your body has used up this energy fighting the inflammatory attack on its own cells.
Exercise is a great way to get your body back in shape, but it’s important to protect your joints while you exercise. If you notice that you’re getting tired while exercising, it may be a sign that you’re pushing yourself too hard and need to back off a bit.
Drenching night sweats and flu-like symptoms
Night sweats are very common in RA. Some people with the condition have them only at night; others have them during the day as well. They’re usually accompanied by low-grade inflammation and fatigue.
Flu-like symptoms occur in about a third of people with RA, usually in the early stages of the disease when low-grade inflammation is common. They can include joint and muscle pain, low-grade inflammation, fatigue, fever, and chills. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. Low-grade inflammation is a common early symptom of RA, and it can sometimes lead to flu-like symptoms. If you’re experiencing low-grade inflammation and fatigue, you may want to discuss this with your doctor.
Unexpected shortness of breath during exercise
Shortness of breath during exercise is a very common early symptom of RA. It’s often accompanied by low-grade inflammation and low blood pressure. If you notice that you’re getting short of breath while you’re exercising, it’s important to back off a bit and give your body a break.
Low blood pressure and low-grade inflammation are very common symptoms of RA, so you should talk to your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms while exercising. Early diagnosis and treatment can help you avoid long-term disability and lower your risk of death. There are many treatment options for RA, including medications, injections, and joint injections. If your disease is mild, medication may be sufficient. If it’s moderate to severe, joint injections may be necessary.
Unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
While these signs may seem like they’re just happening to you, they could indicate a more serious condition. If you notice any of these unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, it’s important to talk to your doctor and get yourself checked out. Early diagnosis and treatment can make all the difference. For more information on Rheumatoid Arthritis, check out Web MD.
That being said, not everyone with rheumatoid arthritis gets all of these signs, and they may be difficult to recognize. It’s also important to note that not everyone with these symptoms will have rheumatoid arthritis. If you have Rheumatic arthritis or suspect that you might, get relief now with Joint Health 101.