Most people who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) know all about its primary symptom, joint stiffness and swelling. While this is the most common and noticeable symptom it is not the worst problem that RA patients can suffer. While managing pain is an important part of treating rheumatoid arthritis, a rheumatologist will treat more than just that. Any tissue in the body, not just the joints, can be affected by inflammation caused by RA. This means there are some serious symptoms and complications that any person with rheumatoid arthritis should watch out for.
The Serious Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Shortness of Breath – The heart’s muscles can become inflamed due to RA. Due to the potential for swelling, patients suffering with rheumatoid arthritis have an increased risk for heart problems including heart attacks.
Numbness & Tingling – Rheumatoid arthritis can cause the connective tissue in the hands and feet to become inflamed. This inflammation can cause impingement of the nerves, which can cause the hands and feet to feel numb or tingle. Worse, the pressure on the nerves can cause permanent nerve damage.
Problems Lifting Limbs – The same problem that can cause the hands and feet to feel numb can also make them difficult to move. This symptom also means there is a potential for not only nerve damage but also for paralysis.
Spots On Your Fingers – The blood vessels around the body can also become inflamed from rheumatoid arthritis. This inflammation can actually stop the blood from flowing to the tissues. That lack of blood flow can cause the tissues to die, which can create red or black spots, usually first seen on the fingers and fingertips.
Red Eyes – The inflammation that can cause spots on the fingers can also cause the RA patients eyes to become red and irritated. Mild cases are easily treated but more severe cases can experience vision loss.
Broken Bones – The inflammation seen with rheumatoid arthritis can also cause the bones to become weaker. This bone loss can cause bones to break more easily and increase the patient’s risk for osteoporosis in both men and women.
Bruising Easily – Rheumatoid arthritis is insidious. It not only has the potential for inflammation throughout the body, but it can also lower the blood platelet count. Blood platelets are what cause the blood to clot. A decrease on the number of platelets means that RA patients may see an increased amount of bruising and may even mean serious problems with bleeding.
What To Do If You Experience These Symptoms
These 8 symptoms are serious and can affect a patient’s long-term health and lifestyle. If you are a rheumatoid arthritis patient and are experiencing these symptoms it is important to make an appointment now with a rheumatologist. If you are in Illinois some of the best rheumatoid arthritis physicians are at IBJI. The rheumatic disease specialists at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute have spent their careers specializing in caring for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Our physicians’ dedication makes IBJI the best choice for the treatment of all types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases.
*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions. The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the reader’s own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.