Why Does Rheumatoid Arthritis Cause Fatigue?

The occurrence of fatigue can vary from person to person.  It may last only a short time or a long time – and it may be predictable with specific trigger or may strike at any time (unpredictable). Overall, it can be a sign of many different health problems. It also can be a consequence of chronic rheumatoid arthritis (RA), how and why?

Fatigue is a common symptom in RA

It is a common cause that makes many people to visit their doctors. If you have RA and often complain about feeling of tiredness, you are not alone. Most sufferers with this chronic joint disease (about more than 80 percent) report that they experience fatigue.

Actually, it is a vague symptom, because there are so many people with lots of different medical conditions experience it. So, finding the cause is not always easy.

Moreover, it is also not easy to describe. In general, if you experience too low energy even though after a full night’s rest, you may have it.

However, sometimes it is not only about the normal need of the body for rest! In other words, there are lots of factors attribute to fatigue.

Why and how does RA cause fatigue?

image_illustration299Various chronic conditions can lead to ‘come and go’ symptoms. And in RA, the symptom like fatigue could be chronic or long-lasting. It also can become unwarranted since many times it is not preceded by certain trigger (such as excess activity), and even sometimes it flares when the joints are not painful or feeling good!

Still, the common signs of arthritis such as pain, stiffness, and swelling in the involved joint are the main symptoms of RA.

But since the inflammation of RA can be widespread and involve the abnormality of immune system, there is a chance for other parts of the body (not only joint) to be affected, too – causing symptoms that are not related to the joint. See also the complications of RA!

If you have RA, fatigue itself can be one of additional symptoms. You might also experience other discomforts such as decreased appetite, weight loss, sweating, or fever during flare-up.

The existence of fatigue can pinpoint many possible culprits. Even in RA, painful joint is not the single answer.

The following are some possible answers of why people with RA are easier to have feeling of tiredness or lack of energy:

Pain and poor function in the affected joints

When the disease flares, the affected joint can be painful and swelling. In the morning, you may also experience stiffness.

You cannot use the affected joint as well as it should. There will be limited range of motion with it. As a result, you daily routines may be affected, too

You are also more likely to use certain body positions that can help reduce the pain. And these positions can lead to more pressures on other joints and muscles. All these things can exhaust your energy, causing fatigue.

Systemic inflammation

Most of us think of arthritis as just about stiffness, pain, and achiness in the joints and having an impact on the activities related to these joints. There is nothing wrong with this perception since osteoarthritis (the most common condition of arthritis) is typically only about a local joint problem.

But the same thing doesn’t go for RA. Again, it is a systemic condition – even it is the most common systemic inflammatory arthritis form! The term ‘systemic’ means that there is a chance for it to affect the entire body, so it is not only about joint disorder.

The systemic inflammation in RA can cause fatigue or other many things that make you not to feel well.

At advanced stage, RA can lead to many complications (even some can be life-threatening condition, see more in here). Most of these complications can contribute to tiredness and lack of energy, too.

For instance, when it has affected the lungs, heart, or caused other cardiovascular diseases – this can make your body system work harder than usual which then eventually may make you easier to have tiredness.

Poor sleep

The quality of your sleep is vital to keep you fit, maintain your metabolism, and essential for your overall health. It’s reported that sleep problems are also pretty common in sufferers with RA.

The painful joint or other discomfort symptoms during flare-up can disturb the way of how you sleep. These can make you become difficult to fall asleep or may make you wake up frequently in the middle of the night, causing frequent sleep deprivations or even insomnia.

It’s important to have good sleeping for anyone, even though if you are a healthy individual! Poor sleep can lead to numerous problems, and one of them can be fatigue.

Your sleep is essential to maintain your stress and boost your recovery. On the other hand, both uncontrolled stress and poor sleep can make the symptoms of your RA get worse.

Good sleeping is one of the most recommended lifestyle approaches for many health conditions. See also other effective home remedies and lifestyles changes to live with RA in this post!