Living with symptoms of a mystery illness can be frustrating and exhausting. Signs of chronic health conditions may initially go unnoticed or overlooked if they develop slowly. The first two years of life with rheumatoid arthritis are typically marked by this experience. Rheumatoid arthritis is an immune system condition that is most known for causing joint damage, but it also affects other areas of the body. Consider these signs of rheumatoid arthritis if you have ongoing unexplained physical symptoms.
Chronic fatigue is more than dragging a little before your morning coffee. People who experience tiredness due to an autoimmune disease may find themselves feeling fatigued all day, even when they do everything by the book. Investigate lingering fatigue when it impacts your daily functioning. Treating the underlying cause may restore some of your energy and encourage you to engage in healthy activities. Adding supplements for RA fatigue to your diet may improve your energy.
2. Unexplained Fevers
Recurring fevers that are not connected to an obvious common virus should be addressed by your doctor. You may be extra vulnerable to bacterial infection because of a chronically worn out immune system. Fever can also be a sign of inflammation from a rheumatoid arthritis exacerbation. Addressing rheumatoid arthritis with medication can help to mitigate joint damage during such flares.
3. Changes in Vision
Loss of vision or mysterious blurriness can be related to rheumatoid arthritis. The condition sometimes leads to inflammation of the sclera, which is the white area of the eye. It can cause the eyes to become irritated and painful when left untreated.
Immune disorders can also result in dry eyes, which increases any existing discomfort. Ask your doctor about using eye drops during flares and reduce strain from screen time. Dry mouth and skin can also result from rheumatoid arthritis. Keep your hands and lips moisturized between flares and consider seeing a dermatologist for help.
5. Chest Discomfort
Chest pain can be scary and interrupt your enjoyment of life. Increased risk of heart attack is associated with having rheumatoid arthritis as plaque can accumulate in your arteries. Ask your doctor about screening for heart disease when you address concerns about rheumatoid arthritis.
6. Shortness of Breath
Breathing difficulties should not be ignored. Scar tissue can mark the lungs from chronic rheumatoid arthritis inflammation and cause trouble with breathing comfortably. This can increase fatigue, overall weakness, and shortness of breath. Treat rheumatoid arthritis early to avoid permanent lung scarring.
Changes in sensation can be signs of trouble beneath the surface. Rheumatoid arthritis may damage nerves or blood vessels and cause numbness or tingling in your extremities. A recurring pins and needles sensation or new sensitivity to temperature can be signs of autoimmune illness. Bring concerns about pain or numbness in your hands or feet to your doctor.
8. Weak Bones
Multiple bone fractures or early low bone density results can be signs of rheumatoid arthritis. Weakness in your bones makes you more vulnerable to painful and lingering breaks from falls. Evaluate your possibility for immune system dysfunction and consider adding gentle weight-bearing or low-impact exercise to your wellness routine.
9. Gastric Pain
Abdominal pain and digestive discomfort can be related to rheumatoid arthritis. This can be confusing for people who consider it to be a condition that only impacts joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause stomach pain when blood vessels become inflamed. This is known as vasculitis and can be dangerous if symptoms are not monitored by a doctor right away.
10. Loss of Hearing
Your ears can hold clues about undiagnosed rheumatoid arthritis. People with rheumatoid arthritis may be at an increased risk for hearing loss and chronic ringing in the ears, or tinnitus. Reducing chronic inflammation can help to mitigate these risks. Protecting your hearing is important for many professions and maintaining access to the world without expensive hearing aids. Take proactive steps to manage rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and prevent irreversible damage.
Rheumatoid arthritis can be a manageable health condition if you are equipped to recognize the early signs of trouble. Ask your doctor about any concerns and consider getting a second opinion if you are not satisfied. Your health is your most valuable asset and you can protect it with actionable knowledge.