Living with rheumatoid arthritis is not an easy task and you slowly understand how to deal with the disease effectively. But it is important to know the ways in which rheumatoid arthritis presents itself. Here are 10 symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis you should never ignore.


Being an autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where the immune system of the body mistakenly starts attacking the joints of the body instead of protecting it from foreign substances and any other harm. The attack on the joints gives rise to inflammation in the area thereby causing the tissues known as synovium lining in the inside of the joint to become thick. This thickening results in immense pain and swelling around the joints.

10 Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis You Should Never Ignore

10 Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis You Should Never Ignore

There are many signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, some are related to the joints, while some are not. However, you must know that even these symptoms might be related to your rheumatoid arthritis and might require immediate medical attention to prevent the problem from aggravating.


Here are 10 rheumatoid arthritis symptoms that you should never ignore.

Increased Fatigued

Increased fatigue is an important symptom of rheumatoid arthritis that you should never ignore. Increased feeling of tiredness could be due to rheumatoid arthritis condition or a result of the medicines administered to the patient to treat the condition. Though in some cases increased fatigue simply means that your body needs some rest, it is important to tell your rheumatologist about it, especially if this feeling becomes frequent or goes on for more than 7 to 8 days continuously.


Shortness of Breath

If you start experiencing shortness of breath which is accompanied by dry cough, then it is one of the most important symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis you should never ignore. It could signify a blood clot in your lungs (pulmonary embolism) or scarring in the tissues of the lungs (interstitial lung disease) which is not uncommon in patients of rheumatoid arthritis. If you feel that this shortness of breath is unrelated to any other triggers, when living with rheumatoid arthritis, it is possibly one of those symptoms you should never ignore.

Easy Bruises or Bleeding

If you accidently bump into a table corner and it causes a significant bruise you might have your arthritis medications to blame for it. Since rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder, it lowers the platelet count, which in turn results in easy bruising and bleeding even if you are not hurt badly. If you notice that while on rheumatoid arthritis medications, you bruise or bleed easily, never ignore it and meet your doctor at the earliest.

Change in a Mole

Any change in the color or size of mole or a non-healing skin lesion is an important symptom of rheumatoid arthritis that you should never ignore. Though anyone can get skin cancer, some drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis also increase the chances of getting this kind of cancer easily. Living with rheumatoid arthritis is not simple and hence it is advised to be watchful about such symptoms. It is important that patients report any sudden or awkward skin lesion immediately so that treatment can be started and the problem can be controlled in the early stages itself.

Pain During Urination

If you feel excessive pain during urination which is accompanied by fever, it needs attention. It could be a sign of infection due to side-effects of the medicines or due to complications of the arthritic condition. Pain during urination or urinary tract infection is an important symptom you should never ignore when living with rheumatoid arthritis.

Pain in the Chest

Though there are several causes of chest pain, sometimes it can be related to your arthritis. Some rheumatoid arthritis medications cause irritation in the esophagus accompanied by heartburn which can be felt in the chest. Sometimes, it can be related to the heart and serious lung conditions. When living with rheumatoid arthritis, if you also feel heaviness in the chest, with a pain radiating right till the arms, throat and back, irregular heartbeat and extreme weakness, it can be serious. Chest pain is a very important symptom you should never ignore and must seek immediate medical attention at the earliest.

Sudden Changes in Weight

Unexplained or rapid changes in weight are a sign of fluid retention in the body which indicate problems such as a congestive heart failure or kidney disease. Living with rheumatoid arthritis can bring on such symptoms and require prompt attention to prevent the condition from worsening. If you are losing weight without any reason you might also have fallen prey to thyroid disease, stomach ulcers or other gastric problems; all of which are common in rheumatoid arthritis. Any change in weight is a crucial symptom of rheumatoid arthritis that you must never ignore.

Achilles Pain

If you are unable to explain why there is swelling and pain above your heel which is also accompanied by swollen joints and lower back pain, seek medical help without delay. It might be a sign of ankylosing spondylitis, which requires right diagnosis and adequate treatment to control the problem in its early stages. When living with rheumatoid arthritis, there are chances of several other complications, the symptoms of which you should never ignore.

Presence of Blood in Stool

The presence of blood in stool can be a sign of inflammation of the colon walls which contains small and bulging sacs in it. It can also be due to gastrointestinal bleeding, Crohn's disease or colorectal cancer. This is one of the top 10 symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis that you should never ignore. Seek medical opinion at the earliest and prevent complications.

Constant Feeling of Sadness or Hopelessness

If you experience such feelings and are also unable concentrate on activities that you once enjoyed, then it might be a symptom of depression. Living with rheumatoid arthritis is a difficult task and several arthritis patients suffer from depression mainly due to constant pain and inability to perform daily activities with ease. But it is a very important symptom you should never ignore; so discuss these feelings with your doctor who might recommend you to a psychiatrist if need be.


Now that you know the top 10 symptoms you should never ignore when living with rheumatoid arthritis, take medical help as needed. Rheumatoid arthritis and the medicines taken to control the disease can give rise to an array of complications in future if left untreated. So be aware and never ignore these symptoms.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:


Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 22, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer


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