9 Unusual Symptoms Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis (2023)

RA inflammation affects more than joints. The signs and symptoms of RA and conditions related to it may be felt all over the body, including in the ears, eyes, skin, lungs, and heart. Below is a description of 9 unusual symptoms that may be related to your rheumatoid arthritis.

1. Hearing problems

Researchers have found that hearing loss and tinnitus (constant ringing, buzzing, or whistling in the ears) can be linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Hearing problems typically show up in older people who have had rheumatoid arthritis for many years.

Experts suggest many ways RA may contribute to hearing problems:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis inflammation may damage the tiny joints in the ear. 1 Emamifar A, Bjoerndal K, Hansen IM. Is Hearing Impairment Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis? A Review. Open Rheumatol J. 2016;10:26-32. Published 2016 Mar 15. doi:10.2174/1874312901610010026
  • A rheumatoid nodule can develop inside the ear. 1 Emamifar A, Bjoerndal K, Hansen IM. Is Hearing Impairment Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis? A Review. Open Rheumatol J. 2016;10:26-32. Published 2016 Mar 15. doi:10.2174/1874312901610010026
  • Drugs that reduce RA symptoms, including aspirin and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 2 Huang C-M, Chen H-J, Huang P-H, et al. Retrospective cohort study on risk of hearing loss in patients with rheumatoid arthritis using claims data. BMJ Open 2018;8:e018134. doi:10.1136/ bmjopen-2017-018134 PMCID: PMC5780710 and hydroxychloroquine 3 Bortoli R, Santiago M. Chloroquine ototoxicity. Clin Rheumatol. 2007;26(11):1809-1810. doi:10.1007/s10067-007-0662-6, may occasionally bring on tinnitus and/or hearing loss.
  • Other disease processes may affect the auditory nerves or cochlear hair cells in the ear that are necessary for hearing. 1 Emamifar A, Bjoerndal K, Hansen IM. Is Hearing Impairment Associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis? A Review. Open Rheumatol J. 2016;10:26-32. Published 2016 Mar 15. doi:10.2174/1874312901610010026

Some hearing problems are treatable—for example, stopping the use of NSAIDs may reverse symptoms—while others may be permanent. Even when changes to hearing are permanent, steps may be taken to stop or slow down future hearing loss.

2. Snoring

Research suggests a significant connection between rheumatoid arthritis and sleep apnea 4 Reading SR, Crowson CS, Rodeheffer RJ, Fitz-Gibbon PD, Maradit-Kremers H, Gabriel SE. Do rheumatoid arthritis patients have a higher risk for sleep apnea?. J Rheumatol. 2009;36(9):1869-1872. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.081335, 5 Shen TC, Hang LW, Liang SJ, et al. Risk of obstructive sleep apnea in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: a nationwide population-based retrospective cohort study. BMJ Open. 2016;6(11):e013151. Published 2016 Nov 28. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-013151, which causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. Symptoms include loud snoring and interruptions in breathing and/or gasping for breath while sleeping.

(Video) Rheumatoid arthritis - causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

Sleep apnea can also cause headaches and contribute to chronic fatigue because the body takes in less oxygen at night.

Sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Treatment typically includes using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or another treatment device to increase oxygen intake while sleeping.

3. Skin rash

When RA inflammation affects the blood vessels (Rheumatoid Vasculitis / Vasculitis), it can cause a variety of problems, including skin rashes. These rashes may appear as clusters of dark red or purple bumps, hives, or irregularly shaped raised pink patches on the skin. On darker skin, changes in skin color may be less noticeable.

Rashes related to vasculitis can occur anywhere but are most common on the lower legs. Sometimes these rashes are itchy, painful, or burning.

In addition, biologics medications used to treat RA increase the risk of rashes and other skin problems 6 Pasadyn SR, Knabel D, Fernandez AP, Warren CB. Cutaneous adverse effects of biologic medications. Cleve Clin J Med. 2020;87(5):288-299. 10.3949/ccjm.87a.19119, such as skin infections.

(Video) 5 Warning Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you have a persistent rash that has lasted for more than 2 weeks, is painful, or looks infected, it’s advisable to contact your physician. Medical treatment is recommended for any rash that is persistent, severe, or accompanies symptoms of vasculitis in other areas of the body, such as the lungs, heart, kidneys, or eyes.

4. Trouble breathing, chronic cough, or chest pains

The lungs are commonly affected by rheumatoid arthritis, especially if the RA is long-standing and has not been well-managed.

Shortness of breath accompanied by a chronic cough, fatigue, and/or weakness may be a sign of scarring caused by chronic inflammation of the lungs. Shortness of breath accompanied by fever and/or chest pain when breathing may be a sign of fluid build-up around the lungs (pleural effusion). Both lung scarring and pleural effusion can be serious conditions, and medical attention is recommended.

5. Sudden, temporary numbness in the fingers or toes

Rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk for Raynaud Syndrome, also known as Raynaud Phenomenon or Raynaud disease. This condition causes one or more fingers or toes to lose blood circulation. The affected area will feel numb and appear paler, white, or blueish. There is typically a distinct border between this area and normal-colored tissue.

(Video) Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Signs & Symptoms (& Associated Complications)

Raynaud Syndrome can be triggered by cold exposure, emotions, and certain medications. 7 Filippone, Lisa M. MD Diagnosis: Raynaud Phenomenon, Emergency Medicine News: August 2004 - Vol 26 - Issue 8, p 30. Accessed August 10, 2021, https://journals.lww.com/em-news/Fulltext/2004/08000/Diagnosis__Raynaud_Phenomenon.19.aspx/a> An episode may last minutes or hours. A warm compress, bath, or shower may encourage blood flow. If symptoms do not resolve then medical intervention may be necessary to prevent tissue damage.

6. Gum disease

Rheumatoid arthritis is associated with gum inflammation (gingivitis) and gum disease (periodontitis). 8 Mercado FB, Marshall RI, Klestov AC, Bartold PM. Relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and periodontitis. J Periodontol. 2001 Jun;72(6):779-87. doi: 10.1902/jop.2001.72.6.779. PMID: 11453241/a>., 9 Bartold PM, Marshall RI, Haynes DR. Periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis: a review. J Periodontol. 2005 Nov;76(11 Suppl):2066-74. doi: 10.1902/jop.2005.76.11-S.2066. PMID: 16277578. Both of these conditions are linked to worsening RA symptoms 10 Rodríguez-Lozano B, González-Febles J, Garnier-Rodríguez JL, Dadlani S, Bustabad-Reyes S, Sanz M, Sánchez-Alonso F, Sánchez-Piedra C, González-Dávila E, Díaz-González F. Association between severity of periodontitis and clinical activity in rheumatoid arthritis patients: a case-control study. Arthritis Res Ther. 2019 Jan 18;21(1):27. doi: 10.1186/s13075-019-1808-z. PMID: 30658685 and can lead to gum damage and tooth loss.

Regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene at home may help improve oral health as well as ease rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, such as joint tenderness and swelling. 11 Sun J, Zheng Y, Bian X, Ge H, Wang J, Zhang Z. Non-surgical periodontal treatment improves rheumatoid arthritis disease activity: a meta-analysis. Clin Oral Investig. 2021 Jan 29. doi: 10.1007/s00784-021-03807-w. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33515120, 12 Kaur S, Bright R, Proudman SM, Bartold PM. Does periodontal treatment influence clinical and biochemical measures for rheumatoid arthritis? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2014 Oct;44(2):113-22. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2014.04.009. Epub 2014 Apr 28. PMID: 24880982, 13 Ortiz P, Bissada NF, Palomo L, et al. Periodontal therapy reduces the severity of active rheumatoid arthritis in patients treated with or without tumor necrosis factor inhibitors.J Periodontol. 2009;80(4):535-540. doi:10.1902/jop.2009.080447 PMID: 19335072

7. Increased fat-to-lean mass ratio

People who have RA tend to have a higher fat-to-lean mass ratio than people who do not have RA. 14 Turk SA, van Schaardenburg D, Boers M, et al. An unfavorable body composition is common in early arthritis patients: A case control study.PLoS One. 2018;13(3):e0193377. Published 2018 Mar 22. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0193377 PMID:29565986, 15 Book C, Karlsson MK, Nilsson JÅ, Akesson K, Jacobsson LT. Changes in body composition after 2 years with rheumatoid arthritis.Scand J Rheumatol. 2011;40(2):95-100. doi: 10.3109/03009742.2010.507215 This difference tends to hold true even for people whose weights are within normal range. Experts are not sure why.

Strengthening exercises can help counteract the loss of muscle. If applicable, losing excess weight may decrease rheumatoid arthritis disease activity and therefore reduce symptoms. 16 Alvarez-Nemegyei J, Buenfil-Rello FA, Pacheco-Pantoja EL. Association between body composition and disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis. A systematic review. Asociación entre composición corporal y actividad inflamatoria en artritis reumatoide. Una revisión sistemática.Reumatol Clin. 2016;12(4):190-195. doi:10.1016/j.reuma.2015.09.001 PMID:26549160 The combination of building muscles and losing excess weight will support joint health and may reduce RA symptoms.

(Video) Rheumatoid Arthritis Pathophysiology (signs and symptoms)

8. Red eyes

While nearly everyone experiences temporarily irritated, red eyes occasionally, eye redness that is recurring, persistent, and/or severe may be a sign of a medical condition related to RA. Eye conditions may be temporary or life-long and typically cause other symptoms, such as eye pain, sensitivity to light, watering, or irritation.

Signs and symptoms of eye problems, including any changes in vision, should be immediately reported to a health care practitioner.

9. Numbness or tingling

A damaged or pinched nerve can cause numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, or other areas of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis may contribute to nerve injury in a few ways:

  • Swollen joint tissues cause a nerve to be pinched (for example, carpal tunnel syndrome can result from swollen joints in the wrist)
  • Vasculitis related to RA affects blood flow and causes nerve damage
  • Certain RA medications may also cause side effects of numbness and tingling sensations

While not necessarily painful, it’s best to report sensations of numbness and tingling to a physician. Addressing the cause may help prevent nerve problems from becoming worse or chronic.

(Video) Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms, Signs & Diagnosis | StreamingWell.com

New and unusual symptoms are not always related to rheumatoid arthritis. Contact your doctor to identify the possible cause of unfamiliar symptoms and discuss treatment strategies.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) Symptoms

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fatigue

FAQs

What are the top 10 symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis? ›

The early warning signs of RA include:
  1. Fatigue. Before experiencing any other symptoms, a person with RA may feel extremely tired and lack energy. ...
  2. Slight fever. Inflammation associated with RA may cause people to feel unwell and feverish. ...
  3. Weight loss. ...
  4. Stiffness. ...
  5. Joint tenderness. ...
  6. Joint pain. ...
  7. Joint swelling. ...
  8. Joint redness.

What other conditions mimic rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Conditions That Can Look Like RA
  • Lyme Disease.
  • Psoriatic Arthritis.
  • Sjögren's Syndrome.
  • Gout.
  • Fibromyalgia.
  • Lupus.
4 Sept 2022

What is rheumatoid arthritis confused with? ›

People with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) — including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease — may develop peripheral arthritis that affects the knuckles and can be mistaken for RA. IBD-related arthritis can also cause symptoms in the elbows, wrists, knees, and ankles.

What can untreated rheumatoid arthritis cause? ›

If rheumatoid arthritis is not treated early or is not well controlled, the inflammation in your joints could lead to significant and permanent damage. Problems that can affect the joints include: damage to nearby bone and cartilage (a tough, flexible material that covers the surface of joints)

Can rheumatoid arthritis make your whole body ache? ›

Whole-Body Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can also go beyond your joints. You could feel: Fatigue. Muscle aches.

What are the red flags for rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Joint pain and morning stiffness are the most common early warning signs of RA. The joint pain of RA has some unique characteristics that separate it from joint pain due to other causes. The characteristics of joint pain caused by RA are: Multiple joints are affected at once (typically more than three joints).

What triggers off rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition, which means it's caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue. However, it's not yet known what triggers this. Your immune system normally makes antibodies that attack bacteria and viruses, helping to fight infection.

What is the first thing to do when you have rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Here are the important steps you can take to boost your quality of life and health after your diagnosis:
  • Follow your treatment plan. ...
  • Be actively involved in your own care. ...
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle. ...
  • Communicate openly with your rheumatologist and rheumatology care team. ...
  • Educate yourself. ...
  • Seek support.

What blood tests are done for rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Some of the main blood tests used include: erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) – which can help assess levels of inflammation in the body. C-reactive protein (CRP) – another test that can help measure inflammation levels.

Does rheumatoid arthritis affect the stomach? ›

Studies show that people with RA are more likely to have stomach problems than the general population. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has an upper and lower section. And RA can affect either one. Research shows that people with RA are about 70% more likely to develop a gastrointestinal problem than people without RA.

What is the rarest form of rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Palindromic rheumatism is a rare condition where symptoms like those of rheumatoid arthritis – joint inflammation, pain and swelling – come on suddenly and then disappear just as quickly.

Can you feel unwell with rheumatoid arthritis? ›

People with rheumatoid arthritis typically have several permanently inflamed joints. The inflammation inside the body can lead to general physical weakness, drowsiness and exhaustion. This feeling of extreme tiredness is also called "fatigue." Some people find this to be the worst symptom of the disease.

What does living with rheumatoid arthritis feel like? ›

The difficult nature of rheumatoid arthritis can mean some people develop depression or feelings of stress and anxiety. Sometimes these feelings can be related to poorly controlled pain or fatigue. Living with a long-term condition makes you more likely to have emotions such as frustration, fear, anger and resentment.

Can RA affect your hips? ›

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hip involvement in RA is often signaled by pain, stiffness or swelling in the hips, thighs or groin area. RA usually affects the same joint on both sides of the body, such as both hips.

What is the most common cause of death in patients with rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Compared with people without the disease, people with rheumatoid arthritis are nearly twice as likely to die before the age of 75 and are more likely to succumb to cardiovascular disease and respiratory problems, study finds.

Does RA affect your teeth? ›

In addition to general health complications, RA can cause you to develop serious oral conditions, such as: Gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that causes swollen and tender gums. Periodontitis, an inflammatory condition affecting the bone and tissue supporting the teeth.

What organs can rheumatoid arthritis affect? ›

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints. In some people, the condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.

When does rheumatoid arthritis hurt the most? ›

In addition to pain, this disease causes stiffness in the affected joints. You may have difficulty getting out of bed or walking in the morning because of stiff and painful ankles, knees, or feet. This stiffness is usually worse in the mornings and can last for 45 minutes or more.

When is rheumatoid arthritis most painful? ›

The joint pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis is usually a throbbing and aching pain. It is often worse in the mornings and after a period of inactivity.

Does RA cause night sweats? ›

RA is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation in the joints. It is the result of an overactive immune system mistakenly attacking healthy tissue. Some people with RA report experiencing hot flushes. This includes night sweats and sudden, unexplained changes in temperature during the day.

Can RA affect your bladder? ›

The most common symptoms of reactive arthritis are inflammation in the joints, eyes, bladder and urethra (the tube that helps remove urine from the body). Sometimes, mouth sores and skin rashes may occur.

How does RA affect the brain? ›

A lot of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) report having trouble with memory, attention, and mental focus. They forget names and appointments, struggle to find the right words and have trouble making and carrying out plans.

Does rheumatoid arthritis change your appearance? ›

Many people with RA experience swelling, changes in the shape of their hands and feet, weight gain or loss, and difficulty walking. These body changes can affect how a person views herself and her body,” says Helen L.

What should you not do if you have rheumatoid arthritis? ›

If you fail to follow the treatment regimen — by not filling prescriptions, not taking medication as directed, not exercising, or skipping appointments — there is an increased risk of worsening symptoms and disease activity.

Is RA a disability? ›

The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers RA a disability if a person meets the following eligibility criteria: the person's condition is so severe that they will need to be out of work for 12 months or more. the person has gained enough work credits to qualify for disability benefits.

What is the most successful treatment for rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Conventional DMARDs .

These drugs can slow the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and save the joints and other tissues from permanent damage. Common DMARDs include methotrexate (Trexall, Otrexup, others), leflunomide (Arava), hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and sulfasalazine (Azulfidine).

What inflames rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Such foods include sugary snacks and drinks, white-flour bread and pasta, and white rice. A spike in your blood sugar prompts the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines, which can worsen your RA symptoms if the inflammation affects your joints.

Does an MRI show rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) shows changes in bone and cartilage and can discriminate these from fluid and soft tissue around the joints, making it a good technique to measure synovial volume and inflammation characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

What is a high rheumatoid factor number? ›

The "normal" range (or negative test result) for rheumatoid factor is less than 14 IU/ml. Any result with values 14 IU/ml or above is considered abnormally high, elevated, or positive.

Can blood test for rheumatoid arthritis be wrong? ›

Blood tests aren't always accurate, because every person is different, so the level of antibodies that each person possesses is likely to differ. The antibody count also depends on the severity of the disorder. In early RA, antibodies are produced at a much slower rate than in the more progressed stages of RA.

What is the latest treatment for rheumatoid arthritis? ›

The current gold standard treatment for rheumatoid arthritis combines a monoclonal antibody and TNF (tumor necrosis factor) inhibitor called adalimumab with a folic acid antagonist called methotrexate. It is most effective for patients who do not respond to methotrexate alone.

Does RA make you gassy? ›

A condition called small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can develop with RA, causing uncomfortable bloating and diarrhea, in addition to abdominal pain, and may be related to the gut microbiome,” says Dr. Kröner.

Can rheumatoid arthritis affect your bowels? ›

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found people with RA report higher rates of stomach ulcers, bleeding, and esophagitis (inflammation and swelling of the esophagus) in the upper GI tract, and perforations (holes), bleeding, bowel inflammation, and infections in the lower GI tract.

Does RA make you constipated? ›

RA and medicines used to treat it are linked to mouth and stomach ulcers, stomach bleeding, acid reflux, diarrhea, and constipation. Painful diverticulitis (inflamed pouches in your GI tract) and colitis (an inflamed colon) are also possible if you have RA. RA drugs like NSAIDs often cause ulcers or an upset stomach.

What is late stage rheumatoid arthritis? ›

End-stage rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an advanced stage of disease in which there is severe joint damage and destruction in the absence of ongoing inflammation.

What is the life expectancy of someone with severe rheumatoid arthritis? ›

It's possible to live a long life with RA, but it is estimated that the disease can potentially reduce life expectancy by 3 to 10 years.

What ethnicity is rheumatoid arthritis? ›

While it is traditionally reported that RA affects predominantly Caucasians, it is important to examine the proportion of individuals with RA within each racial/ethnic group.

Do you feel the cold more when you have rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Still, the exact triggers vary from person to person. Some say that precipitation causes flare-ups, while others blame drastic changes in temperature. Of course, while many people with RA complain about how they feel in cold weather, there are some who are more symptomatic in warmer climates.

Is rheumatoid arthritis a big deal? ›

RA is a very serious autoimmune disease, in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues and causes severe joint pain, stiffness, severe fatigue, and sometimes deformity, usually in the hands, shoulders, knees, and/or feet.

What does rheumatoid arthritis feel like in hips? ›

Hip RA can cause symptoms such as severe pain, stiffness, and swelling. With RA hip pain, you may have discomfort and stiffness in the thigh and groin. Other symptoms of RA include fatigue, loss of appetite, pain, swelling, and stiffness in other joints. RA symptoms can come on gradually or suddenly.

What does rheumatoid arthritis feel like in the feet? ›

The most common symptoms are pain, swelling, and stiffness. Unlike osteoarthritis, which typically affects one specific joint, symptoms of RA usually appear in both feet, affecting the same joints on each foot.

Does RA show up on xrays? ›

For decades, X-rays were used to help detect rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and monitor for worsening bone damage. In the early stages of RA, however, X-rays may appear normal although the disease is active, making the films useful as a baseline but not much help in getting a timely diagnosis and treatment.

What are the advanced symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis? ›

In end-stage RA, people may still experience pain, swelling, stiffness, and mobility loss. There may be lower muscle strength. The joints may experience destruction, and the bones may fuse (ankylosis).

Can RA affect your pubic bone? ›

We present two rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients suffering from disturbances of the symphysis pubis. Radiography revealed one with pelvic ring disruption with symphysis pubis diastasis, and the other with osteolysis at both pubic rami and disruption of the superior aspect of the symphysis pubis.

Does rheumatoid arthritis make you feel generally unwell? ›

People with rheumatoid arthritis typically have several permanently inflamed joints. The inflammation inside the body can lead to general physical weakness, drowsiness and exhaustion. This feeling of extreme tiredness is also called "fatigue." Some people find this to be the worst symptom of the disease.

What are the symptoms of stage 4 rheumatoid arthritis? ›

Stage 4: Bony Ankylosis

In the final stage of RA, the bones completely fuse together and the joints are no more. With the absence of joints, there is an absence of pain as well. However, as you might expect, the range of motion in affected joints is zero.

What does a rheumatoid arthritis flare up feel like? ›

“Most patients describe 'flare ups' as a sudden increase in pain, stiffness, and swelling of the joints of the body,” she notes. Other common RA flare up symptoms include limited joint mobility along with severe fatigue and symptoms that mimic the flu. Note that your symptoms' frequency and severity may vary.

Do you feel cold with rheumatoid arthritis? ›

RA sometimes affects the small nerves in your hands or feet. They might feel numb or like you're being stuck with pins and needles. If these tiny blood vessels in your hands or feet shut down, your fingers or toes may feel cold or numb. They could even change color when it's cold outside and look white, red, or blue.

Can RA affect your stomach? ›

Studies show that people with RA are more likely to have stomach problems than the general population. The gastrointestinal (GI) tract has an upper and lower section. And RA can affect either one. Research shows that people with RA are about 70% more likely to develop a gastrointestinal problem than people without RA.

Can rheumatoid arthritis affect your teeth? ›

The effects of rheumatoid arthritis

In addition to general health complications, RA can cause you to develop serious oral conditions, such as: Gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease that causes swollen and tender gums. Periodontitis, an inflammatory condition affecting the bone and tissue supporting the teeth.

How do I know how severe my RA is? ›

Imaging tests

Your doctor may recommend X-rays to help track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in your joints over time. MRI and ultrasound tests can help your doctor judge the severity of the disease in your body.

How does RA affect the heart? ›

How does RA affect heart health? Chronic inflammation from RA increases the risk of heart disease. Inflammation damages the blood vessels and can cause plaque to build in the arteries. Plaque in the arteries can narrow the blood vessels and block blood flow, leading to heart attack or stroke.

Where do you feel rheumatoid arthritis first? ›

Early rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect your smaller joints first — particularly the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet. As the disease progresses, symptoms often spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips and shoulders.

Videos

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