Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious inflammatory condition that causes swelling, pain and loss of mobility in the affected joints. This comes in a number of different forms and can have a range of different symptoms and causes depending on the specific case, the individual and the area affected. In the specific case of rheumatoid arthritis, the condition is caused by the body’s own immune system (it is an ‘autoimmune condition’) and that means that it is the result of the body’s own system attacking itself. What’s currently unknown is what causes this to happen in some individuals and not others.
This is a potentially life changing condition that can make it harder to enjoy a range of activities and often results in chronic pain.
But what many people don’t realize is that there are also many other common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis – some of which may not be as obviously related. If you suspect you may be developing the condition, read on for a list of 9 possible signs.
1. Joint Pain
Of course, the most obvious symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is pain in the joints. There are specific areas of the body which are more likely to be affected and these include the fingers, the toes, the elbows, the knees and other joints that are used frequently. Pain in the balls of the feet is also fairly common.
This joint pain is often also associated with swelling. It may come on slowly at first and only be noticeable as a mild discomfort to begin with. In other cases, it can be quite severe. Of course there are also many other potential causes for joint pain, ranging from muscle and joint injuries to hairline fractures. Generally, if you experience frequent pain and swelling lasting more than half an hour, it is advisable to see your physician.