Everyone feels a little worn out every now and again, especially when overextending or being under an undue amount of stress. Some people, however, become prey to an overwhelming fatigue that comes on with no extenuating circumstances. This excessive weariness may be accompanied by a low-grade fever and stiffness. These could be indicators of early rheumatoid arthritis symptoms that should checked by a doctor.
While some people also experience unexplained weight loss and numbness in their hands, these are not the prominent symptoms. The biggest telltale sign of rheumatoid arthritis is joint pain. The joints are usually very painful, swollen and stiff. The pain usually affects the joints on the same side of the body in the hands, wrists, ankles, knees and elbows. There is also typical a pattern of the disease which causes more than three sets of joints to be affected at once.
People who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms struggle with debilitating pain that makes it difficult to accomplish simple, everyday tasks. Normal activities, such as buttoning a blouse or unscrewing a bottle top can be extremely difficult or nearly impossible, depending on the severity of the condition. It is very hard for rheumatoid arthritis patients to carry out their everyday activities without some kind of medical or lifestyle intervention.
Rheumatoid arthritis is more than just a condition that causes chronic pain, joint and muscle stiffness. It is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself and can cause systemic symptoms. A number of patients report having rheumatoid nodules or bumps over such areas as their knuckles, elbows or spine. These bumps can range in size, from the size of a pea to an average size plum.
If these symptoms are not detected and treated, the disease can progress aggressively and destroy joint tissue as well as ligaments, tendons and other parts of the body. The disease can be very serious, as it can cause organ damage in very advanced cases and rare instances. People who experience excruciating, symmetrical joint pain should definitely seek medical attention to find out the cause.
Some autoimmune diseases, including lupus, have some symptoms that are similar to rheumatoid arthritis, so it is important to get a clear diagnosis through imaging and blood tests. Most common symptoms are marked by symmetrical joint pain on both sides of the body and can have a crippling affect on one's quality of life. People who experience these symptoms should give the doctors a complete symptom history and get properly tested for a clear diagnosis.