Managing Rheumatoid Arthritis: Symptoms, Stages, Treatments

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that most commonly affects the joints of the hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. Rheumatoid arthritis can affect the major organs of your body along with your skin, eyes, blood vessels, and nervous system. As such, Rheumatoid Arthritis is often referred to as a systemic disease.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Early symptoms of RA seem to primarily target the joints of the fingers and toes. Joint stiffness, especially in the morning becomes noticeable. Other symptoms may include pain when moving around, skin that is warm to the touch, tiredness, muscle pain, and low-grade fever. Symptoms could also include poor appetite, dry mouth or eyes, and hard lumps under the skin. As the disease worsens, symptoms often spread throughout the body.

The Four Stages of Rheumatoid Arthritis

This autoimmune disease affects the body differently from person to person. Many symptoms may be so mild that they are ignored, others may not have any visible symptoms at all, while others may have a severe initial reaction. While you may not experience every phase, it’s important to be aware of the different stages of RA to help in monitoring your RA symptoms.