Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic (long-term) disease that causes inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. It can also affect other organs.

  1. The disease usually begins gradually with fatigue, morning stiffness (lasting more than one hour), widespread muscle aches, loss of appetite, and weakness. Eventually, joint pain appears. When the joint is not used for a while, it can become warm, tender, and stiff.
  2. When the lining of the joint (synovium) becomes inflamed, it gives off more fluid and the joint becomes swollen. Joint pain is often felt on both sides of the body, and may effect the wrist, knees, elbows, fingers, toes, ankle or neck. Additional symptoms include:
  3. Loss of appetite
  4. Low-grade fever
  5. Limited range of motion
  6. Deformities of hands and feet
  7. Round, painless nodules under the skin (usually a sign of more severe disease)
  8. Inflammation of the lung (pleurisy)
  9. Skin redness or inflammation
  10. Paleness
  11. Swollen glands
  12. Eye burning, itching, and discharge
  13. Numbness or tingling.
  14. Anemia may occur due to failure of the bone marrow to produce enough new red cells.
  15. Joint destruction may occur within 1-2 years after the appearance of the disease.