You’re not too young to worry about your joints, so learning how to catch some of the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis is definitely worth your time.
Fortunately, detecting those signs isn’t overly difficult.
Many of them can be observed with the naked eye, and the ones that can’t be seen can most certainly be felt.
So what are some of the signs of rheumatoid arthritis that you can catch early on?
Hold tight while we take you through some common early signs of joint inflammation.
Joint pain is one of the more expected early signs of rheumatoid arthritis; if people know nothing else about arthritis, they know that it causes pain.
Not only that, but joint pain is also more detectable or noticeable than a couple of the other signs on this list.
Don’t, however, make the mistake of attributing your joint pain to arthritis right away.
There are a couple of other culprits which could be contributing to your joint pain, one of which is bursitis.
If you experience joint pain alongside some of the other signs listed here, though, you might be able to determine whether or not you’re dealing with arthritis or bursitis.
In any case, you’ll want to get a doctor’s opinion on your condition.
Like joint pain, redness around the joints is easily detectable (for most people).
Of course, there are some other causes of joint redness that could lead to a misdiagnosis on your part.
For instance, an injury near (or to) a joint might very well give the illusion of joint redness caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
That said, be sure to take all factors into consideration when visually examining yourself.
Stiffness of the Joints
Second only to joint pain, stiffness is generally one of the more popular symptoms that people associate with arthritis.
While people are right to associate stiffness with arthritis, we should clarify that stiffness of the joints does not necessarily point to arthritis.
Many people, for example, wake up in the morning with a few stiff joints here and there since they haven’t used their joints for several hours.
How, then, can you be sure that your joint stiffness is one of the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis?
In many cases, the joint stiffness you experience will worsen as time passes.
The stiffness might also be accompanied by some of the other symptoms on this list.
If you really want to be thorough about monitoring the stiffness, make sure that you keep track of how intense your stiffness is and how often it appears so that you can alert your doctor on your next visit.
If your joints are looking a little puffy, you might be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
As a matter fact, swollen joints are associated with a variety of different types of arthritis.
Swollen joints are also, however, linked to other conditions which are not arthritic in nature.
One such condition is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), which is a more serious ailment than arthritis that can affect “the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.”
Having said as much, speak with your doctor if you are dealing with swollen joints.
Whether you have arthritis or SLE, you want to catch it early to minimize the pain your joints are causing you.
There are several causes of fatigue, so many that we simply cannot list them all.
We can tell you, though, that rheumatoid arthritis is one of those many causes of fatigue.
This news might take some people by surprise since fatigue and joint pain don’t seem to have much of a connection, but the correlation (even if indirectly) certainly exists.
A lack of sleep brought on by physical discomfort, for instance, might lead to fatigue.
Anemia brought on by arthritis could also contribute to fatigue in the early stages of your arthritis.
Fever, like fatigue, is not something that you might anticipate when dealing with arthritis.
It is, nonetheless, one of the early signs of rheumatoid arthritis that you should be on the lookout for.
As you know, fever is symptomatic of many illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious infections.
That said, ruling out some of these causes of your fever is going to be a bit difficult for some people.
Despite that difficulty, we can tell you that you might not be looking at a case of rheumatoid arthritis if your body temperature is insanely high and your fever is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms.
We’ll be upfront here: If you don’t know your body well, you might not be able to spot a subtly deformed joint or two.
Still, there are times at which a deformity is painfully obvious, no pun intended.
One of the better ways to find deformed joints is to monitor your joints over the course of several weeks or months if you’re having joint pain.
Examine your joints a couple of times a week and look for strange changes.
If you’re able to find something that doesn’t feel quite right, you might be suffering from arthritis and should see your doctor about easing your pain.
Decreased Range of Motion
Several of the above symptoms (alone or combined) can gradually decrease your range of motion.
As your joint pain and joint stiffness worsen, so will your ability to move freely.
If your range of motion begins to suffer, you’ll no doubt notice, so this symptom is easy to spot, and it might possibly be the last straw for many people.
After all, no one wants to be left behind as friends and family go biking or swimming.
While you should certainly see a doctor about your limited range of motion, you should fight through the pain and find ways to move your body on the daily basis.
We happen to have a list of hand exercises for those of you who are finding that you can no longer make good use of your hands.
Other Early Signs of Rheumatoid Arthritis
Although the list we’ve provided covers some common early warning signs, there are plenty of other symptoms to look for.
If, for example, your symptoms appear symmetrically, rheumatoid arthritis might be at fault.
The same can be said if multiple joints are affected.
In order to find out more about these other symptoms, be sure to take a look around our Rheumatoid Arthritis management site.
You’ll find lifestyle advice that will help you manage your arthritis and keep your arthritis pain at bay.