8 Unusual Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Arthroscopy For Diagnosis

When you hear about rheumatoid arthritis, you probably think about sore and swollen joints. But there’s more to it than just that. RA is a disease where your body’s antibodies start attacking your joints, causing inflammation.

Sometimes, these antibodies can also harm other parts of your body, like your skin, eyes, stomach, lungs, and heart. It’s like your body’s defense system going haywire. There are some unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, which can disguise themselves as another condition. Therefore, stay on the lookout for the following sneaky signs:

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  1. Hearing Difficulties
    Researchers have discovered a connection between rheumatoid arthritis and hearing issues, such as hearing loss and tinnitus, a constant ringing, buzzing, or whistling sound in the ears. These problems usually occur in older people with rheumatoid arthritis for a long time. The following is why rheumatoid arthritis might affect hearing:

    • Inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis can harm the small joints inside the ear.
    • A rheumatoid nodule may form inside the ear.
    • Certain medications used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, like aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs, might occasionally cause tinnitus and hearing loss.
    • Other health issues related to rheumatoid arthritis could impact the nerves or hair cells in the ear that are necessary for hearing.

    Restricting the use of certain medications can treat some hearing issues. However, some changes to the hearing can be permanent. But there are ways to prevent or slow down further hearing loss.

  2. Regular Snoring
    Studies show that there’s a strong link between rheumatoid arthritis and sleep apnea, a condition where breathing stops and starts during sleep. Signs of sleep apnea include loud snoring, pauses in breathing, and gasping for air while sleeping.
    Sleep apnea can trigger headaches and extreme fatigue because your body doesn’t get enough oxygen while you sleep. The good news is that sleep apnea can be diagnosed and treated. Treatment usually involves using a machine called a CPAP to help you breathe better while you sleep.
  3. Skin Issues
    People with rheumatoid arthritis often experience skin problems due to inflammation, like rashes, clusters of bumps, or discolored patches. Rheumatoid nodules are small bumps that can appear on areas like the heels, elbows, and fingers in about 25% of patients.
  4. Vasculitis
    This is a rare but serious condition in which inflammation affects blood vessels, causing symptoms like numbness, tingling, or pain in the hands and feet. It can also form a skin rash and affect organs like the brain, heart, and kidneys.
  5. Breathing Troubles
    In some RA patients, inflammation in the lungs can promote conditions like pulmonary fibrosis, causing shortness of breath, dry cough, and chest pain.
  6. Numbness and Tingling Sensations
    Inflamed joints near nerves can damage or compress them, resulting in numbness and tingling, mostly in the hands, feet, and limbs. This can occur due to conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome or peripheral neuropathy.
  7. Gum Disease
    Poor oral hygiene, triggering gum disease, can contribute to the development of RA. Inflamed, painful, and bleeding gums are common symptoms.
  8. Excessive Body Fat
    Because moving painful joints can be difficult for people with RA, they can lose muscle mass, which results in an improved fat-to-lean mass ratio.

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Wrapping Up

Other unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as joint pain, swelling, and inflammation, can point toward worsening of the condition or give birth to some new ones. For a proper diagnosis, an experienced orthopedic surgeon can perform an Arthroscopic surgery to determine what kind of arthritis you have.

Consider visiting Dr. Cusick at Michael C. Cusick, M.D. Our shoulder and elbow specialist provides complete rehabilitation services to restore your physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological, and social functions, especially if you suffer from chronic joint conditions. Dial (713) 794-3599 to book an appointment.


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