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10 Serious RA Symptoms to Never Ignore

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

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