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10 things to ask your doctor about RA.

If you are newly diagnosed with RA, asking the right questions will ensure you are well informed about your treatment options. If you are already undergoing treatment, ask the right questions to understand whether your treatment is working for you.

Questions to ask »
Rheumatoid arthritis sufferers stroll a New Zealand beach

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

What Are the Symptoms?+

Symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness, and fatigue are common in RA. This is due to the immune system ‘attacking’ healthy parts of the body. Joints can become damaged and people can experience disability. This can be frustrating and stop people from enjoying day-to-day activities. Fortunately, many different treatments options are now available that improve the symptoms of RA and slow joint damage.

Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis+

Joint pain and stiffness

Joint pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms of RA. People with RA may also experience warmth, redness, tenderness and swelling in the joints. This often happens on both sides of the body. Joint stiffness can be particularly bad in the morning. These symptoms are a sign that joints are being attacked. If left untreated, this can mean that joints become deformed.

How bad RA symptoms are will depend on how bad (severe) the RA is. That is why it is important to get a diagnosis and the right treatment as early as possible.

Fatigue, fever, and functioning

When you have an autoimmune disease like RA, symptoms can be felt throughout the body. Many people with RA experience:

  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Occasional fevers
  • Decreased quality of life
  • Difficulty performing daily activities

People with RA may have trouble doing things they used to do - like climbing stairs or carrying groceries. They may not feel like going out to see friends as often, and may feel sad or down. Feeling low in energy is common.

If you think you have some of the symptoms of RA, make an appointment to see your GP. You could also see a rheumatologist - a doctor who specialises in joint diseases. Be sure to tell the doctor about all of your symptoms, even if some of them only happen once in a while, or seem unrelated.

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