Skip to content

10 Serious RA Symptoms to Never Ignore

There's more than joint pain to watch out for.
Font Size
A
A
A

3. Inability to move or raise your hand or foot

Compared to numbness or tingling, suddenly not being able to raise or move a hand or foot is a much more severe complication of rheumatoid arthritis. 

It’s also a rarer occurrence, involving damage to nerves that are connected to muscles.

“It’s like having a heart attack for the nerves,” Bathon tells WebMD. She advises seeking emergency treatment for this symptom; not doing so could lead to permanent paralysis.

4. Spots on or around your fingertips

Little red or black spots on or around the fingernails may mean that the tissue in those areas has died from inflamed small blood vessels. Although very uncommon, the spots can signal an advanced form of inflammation, says Bathon, who suggests promptly seeing a rheumatologist. 

If the symptom goes untreated, it may ultimately lead to losing fingers or toes.

5. Red, inflamed eyes

Blood vessels in the eyes are another common target of rheumatoid arthritis, especially among people with more serious forms of the disease. 

If the outer layer of your eye feels dry or irritated, eye drops can usually treat the problem, Mandell says.

However, sudden severe pain and redness of the eyes could mean deeper parts of the eye are affected. That’s a very serious complication, so see a doctor immediately if that happens, Mandell says.

6. Tummy troubles

If you take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or naproxen to treat your rheumatoid arthritis, you are at risk for stomach problems.

These drugs can cause stomach ulcers, which could in turn make the stomach bleed or form a hole in its wall.

When taking an NSAID, report any tummy pain, black or bloody bowel movements, or nausea to your doctor right away.

Today on WebMD

rubbing hands
Avoid these 6 common mistakes.
woman roasting vegetables in oven
Four that fight inflammation.
 
mature woman threading needle
How much do you know about these RA myths and facts?
Patients who take the product would get no
This may lead to worsening symptoms.
 
Lucille Ball
Slideshow
Hand bones X-ray
Article
 
prescription pills
Article
Woman massaging her neck
Quiz
 
woman roasting vegetables in oven
Slideshow
Woman rubbing shoulder
Slideshow
 
Working out with light weights
Video
arthritis
Article