The aging process brings many unpleasant things, like developing poor eyesight, feeling sore and achy in the morning and having thick, unsightly toenails thanks to nail fungus. It can also bring mysterious symptoms that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Morning soreness and stiffness is pretty common, but what if you wake up with a burning or tingling sensation in your feet or hands? That could be a sign of something more serious that you really should see your doctor about.
This tingling sensation is one of the many symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis. This is a bit different from osteoarthritis, which occurs when your joints experience wear and tear with age. Rheumatoid arthritis is actually a long-term autoimmune condition that develops when your immune system sees healthy tissue as an enemy and attacks it. With rheumatoid arthritis, this ends up causing inflammation in the joints and the tissues around the joints. In more serious cases, it can lead to inflammation in the organs as well. You don't necessarily have to be older to get this condition, but it does tend to occur more in people, especially women, who are middle aged or older. No one knows exactly what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but it might have something do with genetics, hormonal changes or infections.
A tingling sensation in your feet or hands usually isn't the first sign of this condition. You might have experienced earlier signs of it without realizing it. The first signs of rheumatoid arthritis are typically mild pain and stiffness in the joints in certain areas on both sides of your body, like your feet, fingers, knees or wrists. Your joints might also feel a little warm to the touch when you first wake up. The pain and stiffness usually lasts for about an hour in the morning. Fatigue is also another early sign of this condition. Tingling and burning can gradually develop over time, as well as chest pain when you're breathing in, burning or itchy eyes, trouble sleeping and a dry mouth and eyes.
Making an appointment with your doctor is very important since rheumatoid arthritis needs to be carefully managed in order to avoid serious complications, such as organ inflammation and permanent joint damage. Your doctor will run tests to see if you have this condition. If so, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan, which generally includes antirheumatic or anti-inflammatory medication, regular exercise and physical therapy. Even if you haven't experienced any of the other symptoms of this condition, it's still a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor. This kind of tingling can also be caused by other conditions, including carpal tunnel syndrome, diabetes and nerve disorders.
Having a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis doesn't mean you're doomed to a life full of joint pain. The earlier you start managing this condition, the better off you'll feel overall. So, don't ignore that morning tingling in your hands or feet. Set up an appointment with your doctor, so you won't have to keep worrying about what's causing it.