Rheumatoid Arthritis Signs & Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)Checking for RA symptoms in finger joints is a chronic autoimmune systemic inflammatory disease that primarily affects synovial joints (joints that bend, such as finger, wrist and knee joints), although it can agitate different organs and tissues. RA is characterized by flare-ups (disease activity) alternating with periods of remission. Arthritis will cause increasing damage to the joints if the disease is not adequately treated medically.

(If you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you may qualify for our RA clinical trial in DeLand, FL.)

Arthritis’s route for destruction upon synovial joints begins with small joints, such as those of fingers and toes, and progresses to larger joints, such as the knees, elbows, shoulders and hips. Symptoms usually develop slowly over a period of a number of months.

RA’s course of attack may take place as follows (not always according to the following order):

1. The synovium around the joints becomes inflamed
2. Swelling and excess synovial fluid is produced surrounding the joints
3. Joint stiffness, swelling, pain, tenderness and heat
4. Tendon tethering and attrition
5. Destruction of articular cartilage
6. Impaired function and range of motion of impacted joints
7. Deformation of joints
8. Joints shifting out of place

Signs and symptoms of RA may include:

  • Joint swelling
  • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Warm joints
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Joint immobility or impaired function
  • Loss of joint fusion
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hyperextension of joints
  • Vasculitis
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Pericarditis
  • Endocarditis
  • Lung fibrosis
  • Caplan’s syndrome
  • Pleural effusions
  • Rheumatoid lung disease
  • Anemia
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Renal amyloidosis
  • Episcleritis
  • Rheumatoid nodules (composites of tissue beneath the skin of the arms that feel bumpy, and usually form over pressure points in the body such as the spine, knuckles, bones of the lower leg and elbows)
  • Palmar erythema
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Flare-ups that alternate with periods of remission
  • Dry eyes
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased risk of lymphoma

Although the impact of RA is not limited to synovial, being that it is a systemic disease it may affect organs such as the heart, kidneys, lungs and eyes. About 15-25% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis experience organ involvement. Whether side effects involving bodily organs are as a result of the disease itself or caused by drugs taken to control it must be judged on a case-by-case basis.

There are a variety of anti-inflammatory drugs and pain management drugs available for those suffering from the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Talk to your doctor if you have RA to plan the best curative course of action for your personal case. Although there is no cure for RA, this chronic condition is treatable.

Clinical Trial Indications