Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
The first signs of [rheumatoid] arthritis often do not stand out and appear similar to many other diseases:
tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite, low fever, and swollen glands.
Rheumatoid arthritis evolves and joint pain symptoms begin to appear: stiffness in the joints, especially
in the morning; swollen joints; limited motion in the joints; and joint deformity.
Often joints in the hands and feet are first affected: toes, ankles, fingers, and wrists, but rheumatoid
arthritis can eventually affect almost any joint in the body including elbows, shoulders, knees, hips,
jaws, and neck.
Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are usually symmetrical, that is, joints on both sides
of the body will be affected.
Rheumatoid arthritis' symptoms can come and go, depending on the amount of inflammation in the body.
When the inflammation is under control, symptoms can disappear for weeks, months, or even years. When
inflammation flares up, the symptoms return. During flare-ups, joints can become stiff, red, and painful.
The lining tissue of the joint is inflamed, producing excess synovial fluid. This synovial fluid also
becomes thick, limiting motion.
As rheumatoid arthritis develops, other symptoms can appear, including burning and itching in the eyes,
chest pain when breathing, firm lumps called nodules appearing under the skin surface that can be painful,
and tingling or burning in the hands and feet.
Eventually rheumatoid arthritis can cause damage to cartilage and bones, causing joint deformity and lack
of motion. If rheumatoid arthritis affects a joint in the voice box, it can affect the voice by causing