Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints and other body parts. While it is well-known for causing joint pain, fatigue, and swelling, many other symptoms associated with RA may not be as widely known or discussed. Here are 11 unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis you should be aware of.
- Dry Eyes and Mouth – RA can cause dryness in both eyes and mouth due to decreased tear production and saliva flow. This can make eating uncomfortable, as well as cause vision problems if left untreated.
- Nail Changes – RA can cause deformities such as ridges on your nails or discoloration beneath them due to changes in blood supply to the nail bed. It can also cause your nails to become brittle or split easily.
- Vision Changes – Inflammation caused by RA can affect the blood vessels in your eyes, leading to blurred vision or even blindness if not treated early enough. Additionally, some medications used to treat RA can have similar side effects on vision quality.
- Skin Problems – RA can cause skin issues such as rashes, hives, itching, and dryness due to its inflammatory nature. In some cases, it might even lead to sores or ulcers on the skin due to changes in circulation around affected areas.
- Cognitive Impairment – Some people with RA suffer from cognitive impairment due to inflammation affecting parts of their brain responsible for memory and concentration; this symptom is often referred to as “RA Fog” or “brain fog” by those who experience it regularly.
- Muscle Weakness – Muscles surrounding affected joints become weaker over time because they are not being used as much due to stiffness caused by RA; this leads to decreased strength in certain areas of the body, which may be difficult for some people with RA to adjust to over time.
- Swollen Glands – The inflammation caused by RA can sometimes spread beyond joints into lymph nodes, causing them to swell up; this symptom usually appears along with other signs such as fever, weight loss, night sweats, etc.
- Painful Urination – Due to inflammation from RA affecting sensitive tissues inside the bladder, some sufferers report experiencing intense pain while peeing, especially during flare-ups.
- Breathlessness – Inflammation from RA has been known to affect lung capacity, leading people to feel shortness of breath even when performing simple activities like walking up stairs.
- Weight Loss – Rapid weight loss is one sign that something serious could be going on; if you start noticing a sudden drop in weight without any change in diet or exercise, then you should get checked out immediately since it could be an indication of a flare-up occurring somewhere within your body.
- Depression – Living with chronic pain conditions such as high levels of daily stress often leads to depression, anxiety, mood swings, etc., among sufferers, so don’t ignore any changes in the mental state since they could be connected to something much more serious than just feeling down day.
For those living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), it is important for them and their caregivers to understand all symptoms associated with the condition to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment plans. Knowing specific unusual symptoms will help healthcare professionals better diagnose problems earlier and spot potential flares before they become too severe.