Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?
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See what others are saying

Published: November 03

I was diagnosed 4 weeks ago with RA. I haven't seen a specialist yet. I'm 55, white, female. I had RA symptoms for a while, but I didn't know anything about the disease. In June of this year, I experienced chest pains on my right side and was hospitalized for 3 days. All testing came back negative for heart issues. I was diagnosed with pleurisy and told to exercise more. I was so tired and seemed anxious about everything, afraid I would forget things. My feet kept getting more and more painful, but I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis in 2006, and just thought it was affecting my feet. I have a high tolerance for pain and tend to shrug things off. I'm also not a "pill taker." I got to the point I could barely walk and noticed swelling in my feet too. Then I woke up one morning with my right thumb nearly doubled the other in size and felt like it was broken. Then the next day my right shoulder felt like it was dislocated. And finally the following day, I couldn't lift my right leg. So I went to a local doctor and he did the blood work and said I need to see a RA Specialist, that I have RA. I've been depressed about it and don't know anyone in my ancestry that had it. I never even knew it was an autoimmune disease. I'm having problems getting to a specialist for months, because they are booked up..

Published: September 22

My boyfriend was born with RA. It has affected his hips (he had full replacements about 5 years ago), his feet, knees, hands, neck, wrist and fingers. I can’t imagine the pain one feels. I just want to know how I can help make him more comfortable. A week ago he could barely walk. The good thing is that he doesn’t let the RA beat him. He is a fighter and strives to keep going even when his body really can’t. Will it be smart to do massage therapy? I have been thinking about going to school to get licensed specifically to help him with the RA. I keep you all in my prayers. May God heal such pain and a cure be discovered..