Thanks Rosie, for the welcome. No, I was never tested for lupus. But from what I understand, a lot of these autoimmune diseases mask each other because the sypmtoms tend to be the same. I haven't had any hair loss, butterfly-shaped rash, memory loss, depression, etc. I do occasionally get Raynaud's phenomenon (fingers turning blue when exposed to extreme cold), however. I forgot to include my age in my previous post. I am 37. These are the sypmtoms of RA
· Stiffness. The joint is harder to use and might have a limited range of motion. Morning stiffness is one of the hallmark symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. While many people without it have stiff joints in the morning, it can take people with rheumatoid arthritis more than an hour (sometimes several hours) before their joints feel loose.
· Swelling. Fluid enters into the joint and it becomes puffy; this also contributes to stiffness.
· Pain. Inflammation inside a joint makes it sensitive and tender. Prolonged inflammation causes damage that also contributes to pain.
· Redness and warmth. The joints may be somewhat warmer and more pink or red than the neighboring skin.
Which joints does RA affect? The hands are most often affected, although literally any joint can be affected by rheumatoid arthritis: knees, wrists, neck, shoulders, elbows, even the jaw. Joints are usually affected in a symmetrical pattern -- the same joints on both sides of the body.
Symptoms That Affect the Entire Body
Rheumatoid arthritis also acts throughout the body, and it can have general effects or involve other areas besides the joints. These effects all result from the general process of inflammation:
· Malaise (feeling ill)
· Loss of appetite, which can lead to weight loss
· Muscle aches
These feelings have been compared to having the flu, although they are usually less intense.
Rheumatoid arthritis may affect your skin, lungs, and voice. Here's how:
· Rheumatoid nodules are bumps under the skin that most often appear on the elbows. Sometimes they are painful. Injection treatments usually help.
· Lung involvement is common but usually causes no symptoms. If shortness of breath develops, it can be treated with medicines that reduce inflammation in the lungs.
· Rheumatoid arthritis can even affect a joint in your voice box or larynx (cricoarytenoid joint), causing hoarseness.
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