Arthritis - Symptoms

All forms of arthritis share certain symptoms in common. These symptoms include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joint. These symptoms may develop slowly over time or they may begin quite suddenly. After a period of time, joints may actually become deformed. Patients may find it difficult to straighten their fingers and toes, or their hands and feet may curve outward in an abnormal way. Eventually, a patient may lose the use of a joint entirely.

Patients with RA often report other symptoms also. These symptoms include increased fatigue, loss of appetite and weight loss, and, sometimes, fever. RA may also be accompanied by the development of rheumatoid nodules. Rheumatoid nodules are bumps that appear under the skin, in tissue covering the lungs and chest, or in the brain and spinal cord. These nodules can cause serious complications, including shortness of breath, poor blood circulation, gangrene (tissue decay), and damage to nerves.

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