Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type of arthritis to be diagnosed in the UK. It’s an autoimmune condition, where the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints. It can leave the joints feeling sore and inflamed, and could even damage the surrounding cartilage or tendons. But you could be at risk of the condition if you often notice your hands feeling numb or tingly.
Having a numb pain in the extremities could be one of the earliest warning signs of rheumatoid arthritis, warned medical website Medical News Today.
It could be caused by inflammation deep in the joints, which subsequently leads to nerve compression.
The compressed nerves make it difficult to feel any sensation in the hands or feet, which is why some patients say their extremities feel numb.
“The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis typically affect the hands, wrists, and feet,” said the medical website.
“Spotting signs of rheumatoid arthritis early could lead to an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
“The main symptoms of RA are joint pain and stiffness. Before these symptoms occur, a person may experience some early warning signs.
“Numbness and tingling affecting the hands and feet may be an early sign of rheumatoid arthritis.
“These symptoms are caused by inflammation in the joints that can cause nerve compression, resulting in loss of sensation.”
You could also be at risk of rheumatoid arthritis if you notice the skin around your joints becoming unusually red, it added.
That’s because inflammation around the joints cause the blood vessels to become more dilated.
Wider blood vessels encourage more blood flow the area, which gives the skin a redder appearance.
Some of the most common rheumatoid arthritis symptoms include joint pain, swelling and stiffness, said the NHS.
The symptoms usually develop gradually, over a period of several weeks. They can come and go, and may change from person to person.
The condition can be difficult to diagnose, because there are a number of conditions that cause joint stiffness and inflammation.
But, you should still speak to a GP if you have the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Patients may need long-term treatment to reduce symptoms and prevent joint damage.