Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a type of arthritis that is caused by a misdirected attack by the body immune system on the joints. Like other types of arthritis, RA is characterized by swelling and inflammation in the body’s joints, making them feel painful and stiff.
Beyond the typical arthritis symptoms, RA can cause unusual and unforeseen symptoms, like weight loss, fever, trouble breathing, and dry eyes. If you are dealing with a brand-new diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, make sure you know what to anticipate, and report any brand-new symptoms to your doctor.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory autoimmune disease, which indicates that it involves your body immune system. When you have an infection, your immune system attacks the intruder and you experience symptoms of inflammation as a result.
With Rheumatoid arthritis, your body immune system is attacking tissue in your joints, and so you might experience a few of the general symptoms of inflammation throughout your body. This can feel like the flu, with tiredness, a low-grade fever, and loss of appetite.
Weight Loss in Rheumatoid Arthritis
When you have RA, you may experience flu-like symptoms, often consisting of an anorexia nervosa. This decline in appetite may result in muscle loss and general weight loss.
You may even end up being malnourished if you have RA, which means you need to beware about what you eat, and how much. Work with your doctor to be sure you get the right nutrition and adequate calories every day.
In about 20 to 30 percent of cases, patients with RA establish bumps under the skin. These are called blemishes and establish usually on the arms, elbows, feet, and knees. Nodules are caused by inflammation in small blood vessels. They are normally the size of a pea, and in uncommon cases can end up being infected. Make sure to tell your doctor if you establish these bumps, as they may be an indication that the disease is ending up being more active.
Scleritis in Eyes
Scleritis is an inflammation of the eyes and is characterized by dryness, pain, soreness, blurred vision, and level of sensitivity to light. Some people with RA will experience scleritis, and if left neglected it can end up being serious and cause long lasting damage.
If you have eye symptoms, make certain to contact your doctor. Scleritis can be treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, eye drops, and corticosteroids. Even if you do not have symptoms, be sure you have an eye check-up frequently.
Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lung Disease
The lining of your lungs might also end up being irritated if you have RA. An inflammation of the lining of the lungs is called pleurisy and does accompany the disease. The most visible symptom of pleurisy is the sensation of pain when you try to take a deep breath.
Over time, this inflammation can cause scarring in the lungs and shortness of breath, however it is treatable with anti-inflammatory medications. It is likewise possible that your RA medications are triggering lung symptoms. Tell your doctor if you have any difficulty breathing.
Numbness and Tingling
RA might cause nerve problems, which most often marked by numbness, weakness, or a tingling sensation in your limbs. This condition is called neuropathy. You might likewise develop carpal tunnel syndrome, which is the result of compression of the nerve running in between your forearm and your hand. It is caused by swollen tissue compressing the nerve. Carpal tunnel can affect how you grip items and your capability to use devices or type on the computer system.
Dry Eyes and Mouth
Dryness in the mouth and eyes can accompany RA and are symptoms of a condition called Sjogren’s syndrome. Your immune system, in this case, attacks your glands that produce saliva and tears, triggering dryness.
Dry eyes can be treated with drops or surgery on the tear ducts, while medications can be handy in increasing saliva production. If left untreated, the condition can cause infection and long-term scarring in the eyes. For your mouth, excellent dental health is necessary to avoid gum disease and dental caries that can arise from low saliva levels.
Although not typical, a condition called vasculitis can establish if you have had RA for a long period of time. It is an inflammation of blood vessels that supply blood to your skin. Symptoms include small, red dots on the skin, or in severe cases, ulcers under the fingernails and on the legs. Vasculitis is very serious if not treated, but can normally be managed with RA medications.