Rheumatoid Arthritis in Adults: Symptoms You Should Know

  • The first symptom of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is most often:

     

    A. Pain in the joints of the hands and feet

     

    B. Pain in the hips and shoulders

     

    C. Headache

     

    D. All of the above

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is pain in the joints of the hands and feet. RA often starts in the small joints of the fingers and toes. As the arthritis becomes worse, the pain spreads to joints in the ankles, elbows, hips, knees, and shoulders. If you think you may be having symptoms of RA, see your doctor.
  • RA usually develops slowly.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is true. The symptoms of RA most often begin slowly over weeks to a few months. You may notice fatigue and minor joint pain and stiffness, most likely in the morning. Over time, the symptoms can change or become more severe. Ask your doctor about ways to help control symptoms.
  • The symptoms of RA can come and go.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is true. Some people have periods when they have no symptoms at all. These are called remissions. Then they might have periods when the symptoms are worse, called flares. Work with your doctor to figure out what might trigger your flares.
  • Along with joint pain and swelling, RA can also cause:

     

    A. Dry eyes and mouth

     

    B. Burning or itchy eyes

     

    C. Slight fever

     

    D. Trouble sleeping

     

    E. B and C

     

    F. All of the above

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is all of the above. Other symptoms of RA can include fatigue, nodules under the skin, loss of appetite, and numbness or tingling in the hands or feet. If you have joint pain and any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.
  • Everyone with RA usually has all of the symptoms.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is false. The symptoms of RA can vary widely from person to person. Your symptoms may also change day-to-day as your RA progresses. Ask your doctor about any new or unusual symptoms.
  • People with RA usually feel best in the morning.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is false. The joint stiffness caused by RA is usually worst in the morning. This is one clue to diagnosing RA, since people with other types of arthritis usually feel less pain in the morning.
  • RA symptoms occur in the same joint on both sides of the body.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is true. RA usually affects joints on both sides of the body equally. Wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles are the joints most often affected.
  • RA is caused by wear and tear on your joints:

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is false. RA is an autoimmune disease. This means the body's immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in your joints. Over time, RA can cause your joints to become deformed. This is one reason why it's important to talk to your doctor if you think you have RA. Early treatment can help prevent joint damage.
  • RA can also affect the lungs, heart, or eyes.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is true. The inflammation that causes RA can also affect other organs, such as the lungs, heart, or eyes. Over time, RA can cause damage to these organs. Getting early treatment for RA can help reduce your risk for these problems.
  • It's easy to diagnose RA.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is false. Early on, symptoms of RA are often similar to other bone and joint problems. Diagnosing RA can be tricky. And there's no one test for RA. To diagnose RA, your doctor will review your symptoms and may run tests to look for markers of RA.
  • Most people with RA begin having symptoms in their 30s.

     

    A. True

     

    B. False

    Correct Answer
    The correct answer is false. Most people with RA first notice symptoms between the ages of 40 and 60. However, people of all ages can get RA. If you have any symptoms of RA, no matter what your age, see your doctor.