7 Unusual Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis You Need to Know

RA is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation, which results in joint swelling and chronic joint pains. As the disease progresses, RA symptoms may spread to other parts of your body, including your fingers, toes, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. RA often affects both knees and hands in symmetrical patterns. For example, if one knee or one hand is affected, the opposite one usually is too. But there are also unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis that are not joint-related.

Approximately 40% of people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) also experience non-joint related signs and symptoms. Other parts of the human body, including the skin and eyes, can also be affected by RA. However, the exact causes of RA are not known. It is believed to develop due to a combination of genetic and external factors.

Some of the most common symptoms of RA include:

– Joint pain and stiffness

– Swelling and joint inflammation

– Fatigue

– Fever

– Weight loss

– Anemia

These are just a few examples. If you suspect that you may have RA, it is essential to speak with your doctor soon.

Unusual Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

1. Snoring and Trouble Breathing

Trouble breathing is one of the unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Lungs are often affected by rheumatoid arthritis, especially if the disease has been poorly managed for a long time. Shortness of breath, accompanied by a chronic cough and/or fatigue, may indicate lung scarring due to chronic inflammation.

Sleep apnea and snoring has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis. It may be accompanied by interrupted breathing and gasping for air. Sleep apnea can cause headaches and contribute to fatigue because the body doesn’t take in enough oxygen at night.

2. Ear Problems

If you have RA, you’re at an increased chance of developing ear problems, including hearing loss and autoimmune ear diseases. Because RA affects the tiny bones and joints in the inner ear, researchers have found that hearing loss, tinnitus (a constant ringing, buzzing, or whistle in the ears), and balance problems can be linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Such hearing problems typically appear in older people who have been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) for many years.

Some hearing problems are reversible—for example, stopping using NSAIDs may reverse symptoms. Others may be permanent. Even if changes to hearing are permanent there are steps that can be taken to stop or at least slow down future hearing loss.

3. Numbness and Tingling in the Hands and Feet

RA can cause carpal tunnel syndrome, which is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hands and fingers. The symptoms are caused by compression of the median nerve, which runs through the wrist. People with RA are also at an increased risk.

Numbness and tingling can also occur in the feet due to peripheral neuropathy, which is a condition that causes damage.

4. Dry Eyes and Mouth

RA can cause inflammation of the tear glands, which can lead to dry eyes. The condition is called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or “dry eye syndrome.” It can also cause inflammation of the salivary glands, which can lead to a decrease in saliva production. This condition is called xerostomia, or “dry mouth.”

People with RA are also at an increased risk of developing Sjögren’s syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease that causes dryness in the eyes, mouth, and other parts of the body.

Unusual Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis

5. Skin Problems

RA can cause a variety of skin problems, including rashes, dryness, and itching. People with RA are also at an increased risk of developing psoriasis, a chronic skin condition that causes red, scaly patches on the skin.

RA can also cause Raynaud’s phenomenon, which is a condition that causes the fingers and toes to turn white or blue in response to cold temperatures or stress.

In rare cases, RA can also cause vasculitis, which is a condition that causes inflammation of the blood vessels.

6. Gum Disease

One of the unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is gum disease. Both gingivitis and periodontitis are associated with rheumatoid arthritis, and both can lead to gum damage, tooth loss, and worsening RA symptoms.

Regular dental checkups, good oral hygiene at home, and regular visits to the dentist may help improve your oral health and ease some of the symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis, including joint pain and swelling.

7. Chronic Cough

Chronic cough is one of the unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can affect other parts of the body besides joints, including your lungs. One of the lung complications related to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), chronic cough is among one of the unusual symptoms of RA outside the joints.

These are just a few examples of the unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. If you suspect that you may have RA, it is essential to speak with your doctor soon to treat RA.

What to Eat or Avoid with RA?

There is no one-size-fits-all diet for people with RA. However, some general dietary guidelines may help ease RA symptoms and reduce inflammation and reduce unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Some of the best foods to eat if you have RA include:

– Fruits and vegetables: These are high in antioxidants, which can help protect against inflammation.

– Omega-three fatty acids: These are found in fish, nuts, and seeds and can help reduce inflammation.

– Whole grains: These are high in fiber and other nutrients that can help reduce inflammation.

– Lean protein: This is important for people with RA because it helps repair tissue damage and maintain muscle mass.

– Low-fat dairy: This can help reduce inflammation and provide the nutrients needed for bone health.

You should avoid some foods if you have RA, as they can trigger or worsen common and unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. These include:

Refined carbohydrates: They are found in processed foods, white bread, and pastries. They can cause inflammation.

– Trans fats: These are found in fried foods, processed meats, and margarine. They can increase inflammation.

– Saturated fats: These are found in fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and butter. They can also increase inflammation.

– Alcohol: This can trigger RA symptoms and increase inflammation.

– Nightshade vegetables: These include tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and eggplants. They can trigger RA symptoms in some people.

If you have RA, it’s essential to eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. It would help if you also avoided refined carbohydrates, trans fats, saturated fats, alcohol, and nightshade vegetables.

Is it Possible to Treat Unusual Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis through Fasting?

Yes, it is. Because fasting programs provide an effective purification and regeneration in the body by starting the natural autophagy process in which the body destroys old, damaged and dead cells. 

During a water fasting program, you limit eating for a certain period and drinking only water throughout the day makes it easier for the body to cleanse, heal and regenerate itself. This way, you can prevent and eliminate both common and unusual symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. 

Juice fasting programs also promote cell growth, they help heal the body by providing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to the cells and supporting the immune system, digestive system and excretion system to eliminate toxins released from the body during metabolism. To learn more about anti-inflammatory detox guide by clicking here for free.


Krystle's Water Fasting Experience

“The effects of rheumatoid arthritis decreased after the water fasting program, first on the hands and feet, then on the whole body.”
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Philip Chia


Philip Chia

Dr Philip Lun Kee Chia has been practising integrative medicine since 2004. His parents were Chinese Medical Doctors, so it was an easy transition for him to grasp the differences between conventional medical practice and alternative medical practice. He holds a diplomate certification in Family Medicine and is a Fellow of the Philippine Academy of Family Physicians. He is a board-certified medical acupuncturist and a certified therapist on Dorn Spinal Alignment Method. His diverse exposure to the different healing arts of holistic medicine spans from the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Anthroposophic Medicine, Dorn Spinal Alignment Method, Regenerative, Anti-aging Medicine and Functional Medicine.

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