Rheumatoid ArthritisRA Signs & Symptoms

Let's Talk About the Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Worried that your achy joints could mean something more? Read on to learn exactly how to spot the signs of RA.

    Our Pro PanelRheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

    We went to some of the nation’s top RA experts to bring you the most scientific and up-to-date information possible.

    Nilanjana Bose, M.D.

    Nilanjana Bose, M.D.Rheumatologist

    Rheumatology Center of Houston
    Houston, TX
    Elizabeth Schulman, M.D.

    Elizabeth Schulman, M.D.Rheumatologist and Assistant Professor of Medicine

    Weill Cornell Medical College
    New York, NY
    Dee Dee Wu, M.D.

    Dee Dee Wu, M.D.Rheumatologist and Assistant Attending Physician

    Hospital for Special Surgery
    New York, NY
    Joints radiating with pain.

    What Does RA Look Like?

    Some signs of rheumatoid arthritis are obvious...others not so much. Here's what to look for!

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    Frequently Asked QuestionsRheumatoid Arthritis Signs & Symptoms

    Can you die from rheumatoid arthritis?   

    No. But RA can increase the risk of certain life-threatening conditions such as heart disease—a big reason why RA patients are advised to exercise regularly and eat a heart-healthy diet that includes fatty fish, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

    How do you know if you have rheumatoid arthritis? 

    There is no one blood test or physical finding to confirm a diagnosis of RA. The best way to get diagnosed is to be examined by a rheumatologist, who may order a variety of tests to look for markers of the disease.

    Can you get disability insurance for rheumatoid arthritis?   

    Yes, the Social Security Administration does accept disability applications from RA patients—but in order to receive the monthly payments, you must first prove that you’re too disabled to work. If eligible, your monthly payments would be based on your earnings history. (Through the disability program, you would also receive either Medicare or Medicaid depending on your circumstances.)

    Can kids get rheumatoid arthritis? What are the signs?   

    Yes. The most common signs and symptoms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis—the most common form of arthritis in children, affecting 14 per 100,000 children under the age of 16 each year—are just like adult RA: joint pain, joint swelling, and joint stiffness. In some cases, the child may also have a high fever, swollen lymph nodes, or a rash on the trunk of the body, which usually gets worse in the evening.

    Jerilyn Covert

    Jerilyn Covert

    Jerilyn Covert is a writer, editor, and copy editor with 15 years of publishing experience.