RA IS MORE THAN JUST JOINT PAIN

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic condition where your overactive immune system causes inflammation that attacks your joints. Common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can include joint pain, joint swelling and stiffness, and fatigue. Other RA symptoms can include warm joints, joint deformity, and joint tenderness.

RA is an autoimmune disease, and the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. Around 1.5 million people in the US have RA, and nearly 3 times as many women have the disease as men. In women, RA can commonly begin between ages 30 and 60, but with men, it often occurs later.

Female stretching to relieve RA joint pain and stiffness Female stretching to relieve RA joint pain and stiffness Female stretching to relieve RA joint pain and stiffness

Hear people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) discuss its impact on everyday life.

RA is a systemic disease, meaning it can impact the entire body.

The most common joints affected by RA are hands, feet, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. Joint symptoms are often experienced symmetrically—so if your left knee is affected, your right one usually is too.

Inflammation can also impact more than just joints.

Some people have problems in the eyes, lungs, and heart. People with RA have a 48% increased risk of heart disease compared to the general public. Not all patients progress to the same level of disease severity.

Along with fatigue and joint pain, other rheumatoid arthritis symptoms can include:

Flame icon indicating rheumatoid arthritis flares Flame icon indicating rheumatoid arthritis flares Flame icon indicating rheumatoid arthritis flares

Flares followed by periods of lower disease activity

Muscle icon, indicating weak and aching muscle RA symptoms Muscle icon, indicating weak and aching muscle RA symptoms Muscle icon, indicating weak and aching muscle RA symptoms

Weak and aching muscles

Thermometer icon indicating fevers as an RA symptom Thermometer icon indicating fevers as an RA symptom Thermometer icon indicating fevers as an RA symptom

Low-grade fevers

Apple and cheese icon indicating loss of appetite as an RA symptom Apple and cheese icon indicating loss of appetite as an RA symptom Apple and cheese icon indicating loss of appetite as an RA symptom

Loss of appetite

Icon of a hand indicating small lumps (rheumatoid nodules) as a symptom of RA Icon of a hand indicating small lumps (rheumatoid nodules) as a symptom of RA Icon of a hand indicating small lumps (rheumatoid nodules) as a symptom of RA

Small lumps (rheumatoid nodules) under the skin

Get a free RA Wellness Handbook Get a free RA Wellness Handbook Get a free RA Wellness Handbook

Sign up for emails to get a free RA Wellness Handbook—an all-in-one resource with recipes, RA management tips, symptom tracking, and more to help you live better with RA.

RA SYMPTOMS ARE A WARNING SIGN

If not managed properly, persistent inflammation resulting from RA could lead to permanent, irreversible joint damage. That’s why rheumatologists recommend early diagnosis and aggressive treatment when appropriate.

Don’t just power through the pain.

If you’re experiencing rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, and your treatment plan isn’t working for you, permanent joint damage may have already begun. A rheumatologist can find the right treatment for you to help prevent further joint damage.

Rheumatoid arthritis fact Rheumatoid arthritis fact Rheumatoid arthritis fact

Joint damage can start within
1 year of having RA

Female enjoying everyday activities like washing her car Female enjoying everyday activities like washing her car Female enjoying everyday activities like washing her car
abo

Did you know that experiencing RA symptoms may mean that permanent joint damage has already begun?

Did you know that experiencing RA symptoms may mean that permanent joint damage has already begun?

Yes

No

That’s why it’s important to tell your rheumatologist about any symptoms you experience and how they impact your life. The RA Check-In can help you discuss it at your next appointment.

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AND OSTEOARTHRITIS

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis (OA) share symptoms, but have different causes and progression. Since your treatment plan will depend on which type of arthritis you have, it’s important to see a rheumatologist for an accurate diagnosis.

The primary difference is that RA is an autoimmune disease which causes inflammation that affects the whole body, while OA just affects the joints.

Rheumatoid arthritis fact Rheumatoid arthritis fact Rheumatoid arthritis fact

70% of RA patients showed joint damage on an X-ray 3 years after symptoms began

RA vs. OA

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Osteoarthritis (OA)

DISEASE TYPE

RA is a systemic autoimmune disease, meaning that it can impact the whole body

OA only affects the joints, and can be caused by factors such as genes, weight, injury, or overuse

SYMPTOMS

RA can also include symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite, in addition to joint pain, swelling, and stiffness

OA symptoms can include joint pain, stiffness, and decreased range of motion

LOCATION OF SYMPTOMS

RA often affects joints symmetrically, meaning it can cause swelling in pairs of joints, particularly smaller joints (such as both hands, or both ankles)

OA may not affect both sides of the body, and can affect weight-bearing joints (such as back, hip, or knee), as well as the neck, small finger joints, and big toe

TIME OF DAY

RA is generally worse in the morning, after long periods of rest, or after lack of activity

OA tends to get worse throughout the day from activity

AGE OF ONSET

RA can occur at any age, but usually occurs between 30 and 60 years of age in women, and later in men

OA usually affects people later in life, most commonly in people 65 years of age or older

PREVALENCE

RA affects approximately 1.5 million people in the US

OA affects approximately 27 million people in the US

This is not a diagnostic tool. Discuss your symptoms with a rheumatologist.

Joint damage starts fast, but your rheumatologist can help.

Work with your rheumatologist to find the right treatment plan for you—one that can help prevent further joint damage.