4 Warning Signs You Could Have Rheumatoid Arthritis

At least 1.3 million Americans suffer from rheumatoid arthritis. Commonly known as RA, this is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack a person’s own tissue lining the joints. If you are not familiar with RA, here is some basic information:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common form of autoimmune arthritis.
  • It does not have a known cause.
  • While there is no cure for RA yet, treatments have improved greatly over the years.
  • Your best chance of limiting damage to joints and maintaining range of motion is to detect RA as early as possible.

If you are heading for rheumatoid arthritis, your body will start giving out signals early on. These signals may not be constant. Sometimes, a person’s RA goes into remission for long periods, only to recur down the road, says WebMD. That is why it is important to know the clues that can signal rheumatoid arthritis.

RA can announce itself in vague, non-specific ways. For instance, patients of rheumatoid arthritis often experience sleep issues, burning eyes, dry mouth, numbness and tingling sensations in the hands and feet. But there are specific signs that spell RA, which you should know. Here is a list:

1. Swelling

Watch out for puffiness on your hands, feet or wrists. This happens when fluid enters the joints, causing them to swell and become tender and warm. In rheumatoid arthritis, this could occur if the joints have not been used for an hour or more.

(See: 10 Natural Remedies for Swollen Feet and Ankles)

2. Joint Pain

Tenderness or pain of the joints is one of the most common symptoms among patients with RA. Sometimes, other disorders can cause such pain. But if you find both your hands and wrists hurting, it is most likely to be rheumatoid arthritis, which tends to have a symmetrical pattern.

3. Morning Stiffness

A typical sign of rheumatoid arthritis is stiff joints in the morning. You might find that you cannot move your arms, legs, and/or fingers as far wide as you should be able to. This condition can last from 30 minutes to two hours. Such unexplained stiffness needs to be attended to. See a rheumatologist, especially if symptoms recur often.

4. Fatigue

The Arthritis Foundation reports that up to 98 percent of those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis experience fatigue. Sarah Hewlett, PhD, senior lecturer in Rheumatology Health Professions at the University of Bristol in England, says patients of rheumatoid arthritis describe fatigue as “severe weariness and dramatic and overwhelming exhaustion.” This happens because the joints have inflammation and need to work harder to get you through the day. Sleep is also disrupted, and you might wake up not feeling refreshed. If all of this sounds like you, it might be time to see a specialist.

With early diagnosis and proper treatment, joint damage can be reduced to a great extent.


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Helen C
Helen C2 months ago

Time for that blood test.. my body has been screaming!!!!

Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago


Paulo R
Paulo R3 months ago


Jeramie D
Jeramie Dabout a year ago


Jeramie D.
Jeramie D2 years ago

I have RA and Humira is VERY EXPENSIVE. I have been on it for 12 years. I am grateful to it that I am not all crippled. My heart is with everyone dealing with autoimmune diseases.

Jane R.
Jane R3 years ago

This sounds a lot like me. I have arthritis but never tested positive or Rheumatoid. I have crooked thumbs, large nodules on the finger joints, sleep problems, fatigue and more. My sister has Rheumatoid and has to get infusions. Very expensive, luckily her insurance pays for them.

Terry Wheeler
Terry Wheeler4 years ago

Oh, no, I have it!

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe4 years ago

I don't look forward to getting it.

Elena T.
Elena Poensgen4 years ago

Thank you :)

Sheleen Addison
Sheleen Addison4 years ago

Thank you, I am trying to read as much as I can about it so this is really helpful