Early Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

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A Doctor's View on Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms

Comment by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

While the initial symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can be very different from patient to patient, there are a number of symptoms that many people with rheumatoid arthritis confront. The appreciation of early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is extremely important for health-care professionals. By recognizing symptoms of early rheumatoid arthritis, the joint inflammation can be addressed before damage to the joints occur, thereby preventing long-term consequences of the disease. Moreover, because rheumatoid disease can affect other organs, early management can be used to optimize the health status throughout the body. Here I will first discuss the common early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and then review some unusual ones.

What are early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, and what areas of the body are affected?

While early symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can actually be mimicked by other diseases, the symptoms are very characteristic of rheumatoid disease. Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and signs include the following:

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