Not necessarily all of them at the same time though. RA often starts in the small joints of the hands and feet before migrating to bigger ones like the knees.
This is a key factor: RA typically affects symmetrical joints (i.e. the knuckles of both hands). Other forms of arthritis tend to affect just one side.
If you wake up feeling like the Tin Man, RA could be to blame. RA stiffness lasts at least 30 minutes and improves the more you move.
We’re not talking just a little tired. People with RA often feel so fatigued they can’t do the things they usually do (including just getting out of bed).
RA can make you feel generally lousy and rundown, sort of like when you have a bad cold. You may even run a low-grade fever of 99°F or 100°F.
Brain fog is real, people. RA-induced inflammation can make it harder to concentrate or remember tasks. About 30% of patients have this kind of cognitive impairment.
RA produces inflammatory proteins called cytokines that impact metabolism and can cause muscle to break down. Ongoing inflammation also diminishes your appetite.
Only about 10% of RA patients experience this dryness. It’s a condition called secondary Sjogren’s disease, which impacts tear and saliva production.
If RA swelling is affecting your wrists, it could compress the median nerve, leading to the pins-and-needles sensation of carpal tunnel syndrome.
About 25% of RA patients develop lung disease. If you’re coughing, wheezing, or have trouble catching your breath, especially if you have other symptoms, see a rheumatologist stat.