Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation of joints. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) tends to begin slowly with minor symptoms that come and go, usually on both sides of the body, and progress over a period of weeks or months. Symptoms of this chronic disease vary from person to person and can change from day to day. Bouts of disease activity are called flare-ups, and inactive periods are called remission.
You may feel unusually fatigued well before any other symptoms become obvious. Fatigue can precede the onset of other symptoms by weeks or months. It may come and go from week to week or day to day. Fatigue is sometimes accompanied by a general feeling of ill health or even depression
Morning stiffness is often an early sign of arthritis. Stiffness that lasts for a few minutes is usually a symptom of a degenerative form of arthritis. Stiffness that lasts for several hours is generally a symptom of inflammatory arthritis and is typical of RA. You may also feel stiffness after any period of prolonged inactivity like napping or sitting.