Arthritis Home > Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Although rheumatoid arthritis symptoms often affect the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hand, they can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints. Some symptoms that affect the joints include a decrease in motion; tender, warm, and swollen joints; and pain that is worse with movement. A few examples of signs and symptoms that may develop outside of the joint include osteoporosis, dry eyes, and dry mouth.

Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Overview

Rheumatoid arthritis has several special symptoms that make it different from other kinds of arthritis. For example, symptoms of this condition generally occur in a symmetrical pattern, meaning that if one knee or hand is involved, the other one also is. Symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis often affect the wrist joints and the finger joints closest to the hand. They can also affect other parts of the body besides the joints.
 

Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

In about two out of every three people, early symptoms are pretty vague. These symptoms can include things such as:
 
  • Fatigue
  • Occasional fevers
  • A general sense of not feeling well
  • A decreased appetite.
 
These early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis may continue for weeks or months before joint symptoms begin, making a diagnosis quite difficult.
 
About one in every three people will have early symptoms that affect one or two joints. About 10 percent of people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis will have a very rapid progression, with early symptoms that involve multiple joints along with fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and an enlarged spleen.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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