What is your worst symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis? Please share at our latest poll!

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis
As some of you may know my late grandmother suffered , through most of her life with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).

As a child it is hard to understand all the various symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis she lived with and how they impacted upon the totality of her lifestyle. Certainly RA put massive strain on her marriage.

If you has asked me at the time I would have said that mobility was her biggest issue. Indeed she was housebound for the last 15 or so years of her life. The perhaps pain. She died 25 years ago when pain management was much more primitive that it is now.

But with the benefit of hindsight I going to suggest something rather different. I’d say now depression. She came from a generation which did not “mention these things”. Only after her death did I find out that she had been hospitalised a number of time for depression during the forties and fifties. Due in part to, of course, to the pressures of the war but also, I’m certain, to her RA.

Thinking about this I wondered to what extent her experience was similar to yours. To achieve this I was wondering if you could take part in the poll below which asks “What is your worst symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis?”

If you would like it would be great if you could share more of your RA story in the comments section below. If we have missed out your worst symptom of RA in the poll please could you mention it in the comments section as well!

Many thanks in advance!

Rheumatoid Arthritis Butterfly – Please like and share Donnee Spencer’s amazing Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Butterfly with Everyone in the RACommunity

As readers of this blog may know Donnee Spencer has been producing a series of brilliant medical condition awareness butterflies. You can see more of her work here.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis

We would like to highlight her brilliant RA awareness butterfly.  Please like and share with everyone you know in the arthritis community!

Rheumatoid Arthritis Part One – Signs and Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis – Your Joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis

Welcome to the first in an ongoing series of blog posts  into the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. This in turn is part of an informational series which we hope over time with cover the main issues associated with rheumatoid arthritis.

One of the reasons I want to cover this area in more detail is that my grandmother suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis for many years.  Her life, I believe, could have been much easier if there was greater awareness of the realities of RA.

As you may know the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis come in to three main categories: –

a)    Symptoms affecting the joints,

b)    Systemic symptoms or those symptoms which impact the whole body

c)    Other symptoms affecting specific organs.

Today we will focus our attention on joint symptoms.  Which are the most common symptoms (and indeed sign) of rheumatoid arthritis or RA; as it is often called.

Just by way of information a joint id defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “A structure in the human or animal body at which two parts of the skeleton are fitted together.”

The most common symptom of rheumatoid arthritis is stiff painful and swollen joints. Typically these develop over time in joints on both sides of the body.  In many cases the joints of the hands or feet are affected first. Often other joints are affected which  include knees, elbows, wrists and shoulders among others.

The pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis is often described as “deep and aching”.

Often at its worst after periods of rest (i.e. after a long drive or waking from sleep).   It can be helps by gently moving the affected joint.   Disrupted sleep is common in people with RA because of regular waking due to pain.  This is one of the causes of fatigue in RA patients.

In the morning, after sleep, the affected joints can also feel very stiff.  This may last for some hours after waking.  The time that the stiffness lasts is often used as an example of the difference between RA and osteoarthritis.

The joint inflammation means that they, the affected joints, become “swollen, red and hot”.    As RA progresses both cartilage and bone are destroyed.  This again limits mobility and in many cases leads to deformities.

One of the aims of blog posts like this is to give our readers the opportunity to share their stories and learn from the experiences of others in the rheumatoid arthritis community!  To facilitate this it would be great if you would use the comments box below to talk about the symptoms and signs of rheumatoid arthritis.  You might care to think in terms of the following questions:-

a)    Have you been diagnosed with RA?  For how many years have you been diagnosed?

b)    What were the first signs of rheumatoid arthritis?

c)    What are now your main symptoms?

d)    What one piece of advice would you give to somebody who think they may have RA?

Thanks very much in advance.