Rheumatoid Arthritis Fevers | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Rheumatoid Arthritis Fevers

Last week, I mentioned my Rheumatoid Arthritis fevers in another post. What a surprising variety of reactions. Some said, “Me too.” Others said, “Ohmygosh I had no idea the fever was from RA!” And others said, “What on earth do you mean by RA fever?”

What do you mean by Rheumatoid Arthritis fevers?

rheumatoid arthritis fevers thermometerWhen the Mayo Clinic defines Rheumatoid Arthritis, they mention fever. You also will see “fever” included if you read Mayo Clinic’s list of Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms. Fever is listed by John’s Hopkins as a symptom which precludes “clinical remission” in their “Diagnostic Guidelines.” The American College of Rheumatology mentions fever on page two of their explanation of RA. If you read historical descriptions of RA, you will notice that fever is mentioned along with redness or rashes and crippling pain.

Typically, a rheumatoid fever is a low grade fever. A low grade fever is usually considered to be less than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. A normal body temperature for most people is 98.6, so a low grade fever could be a temperature between 98.7 and 100.4.

What causes Rheumatoid Arthritis fevers?

Why doesn’t everyone know about Rheumatoid Arthritis fevers?

This puzzles me. Frankly, RA is a puzzle in many ways. There is much misinformation and misleading information. It seems like patients know exactly what RA is, but sometimes it seems like they are the only ones. And they don’t always speak freely about what daily RA is like, even to doctors, because so often they struggle to resist the mantle of hypochondriac. (Please read that link if you are not familiar with that post. It is doctors and the Arthritis Foundation who have used that word, not me.)

It is typical for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis to have a fever. If the RA is not “controlled” or the patient has flares, there will likely be a fever as one indicator of that. So, why is this “textbook” “typical” symptom of RA discussed so little today?

Why is it that fever, the one known typical RA symptom that is easily objectively measurable, is hardly measured?

Whenever I take my child to the pediatrician, the nurse takes his temperature. However, I have never had my temperature taken at a rheumatology appointment. Once, I requested it, and the MA became very frustrated because she did not know why. She said, “We don’t do that here.” Why not?

Isn’t a fever a sign of inflammation in the body? Wouldn’t it be important to use body temperature patterns as a measure of RA activity? It seems to associate more with disease activity than blood tests do.

How often does your rheumatologist take your temperature? How often do you have a low-grade fever? Do you own a good digital thermometer?

Recommended reading:

Kelly O'Neill Young

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked over 10 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over thirteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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133 thoughts on “Rheumatoid Arthritis Fevers

  • April 27, 2011 at 11:21 pm
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    Oops, somehow I did not realize that I was Commenter #50. So I just read the other 49 comments and realize that people CAN relate to my experience! Here is the question I have, though: I do not fever when I am at home, getting plenty of rest. So, is there anything I can do when the fever comes on, making me feel unwell, weak, fatigued, and in a fog mentally, other than nap? And if I must nap to get better, but I cannot due to working — does that prevent the A.S. from improving? It’s as if over-fatigue hits me easily, and I only feel okay when I live a very restful life. Would not working outside the home give me so much better quality of life that it would be worth the financial fall-out? Anyone have any experience in this realm? And is this RA fevering normal for one with A.S.?

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  • April 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm
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    I’ve never had fevers with AS mater of fact even when I have had horrible infections I haven’t gotten fevers. Though everyone’s experience is personal and therefore can be different. I too have AS and have found if I lead a restful life the AS isn’t nearly as bad. O cannot work full time or my AS gets so bad I end up in the hospital. I hope that you too are able to find the balance between work and functioning.

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    • May 13, 2011 at 11:37 pm
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      Sunworshiper,
      Can you tell me a little more about your experience with A.S.? And can you tell me what treatment you are pursuing?

      I do not know anyone else with this disease, and there seems to be very little available, like books in the library, for instance.

      My fevers are increasing, so that this week I had two days where the fever began at 9 in the morning or earlier, and didn’t go away until my evening 2-hour nap. My eyes ache with the fevers, every time.

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  • April 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm
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    I have been complaining about constant low grade fevers and sweating since 1996 to several doctors that I have seen, and not one of them, GP or rheumatologist has ever taken a temp. The general consensis back then was post menopause synptoms. Now I know my suspicions were correct…the symptom was ignoed because, as one rheumy said when pressed, “Do everything you want to do now, because it will get worse.Someday you will be in a wheelchair” And that with no more of an explnation; in spite of that his diagnosis: FM (and RA hidden in my chart, and confirmed seven years later by a different Dr.)Now I call it RA fog instead of FM fog.Rest and humor, rest and humor…family understanding is understandably lacking; who sorts out this mess? Thanks Kelly, so very much.

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    • April 28, 2011 at 2:27 pm
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      wow, Marilyn. So much could be learned by doctors from just your comment… for now, I guess we are the ones to sort it out.

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  • June 20, 2011 at 11:24 am
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    I have had RA since I was a child and always ran about one degree above normal. When RA is controlled by medication, my temperature is normal. As for my rhematologist taking my temperature, my current doctor has always taken my temp but it was not really discussed until I began having infusions: starting with Remicade, Orencia, Rituxan, Orencia again, and now Actemra.
    My temperature of 99.8 became an issue after Rituxan did not work and I went back on Orencia. The nurses in the infusion center became concerned when I continually ran a higher temperature than normal before an infusion. I think their concern was that I may have had an undected infection.
    I explained that I always ran a low grade fever when my arthritis was active, but they checked with the rheumatolist on call that day, and he agreed. It was the arthritis causing my fever. Why did the nurses not know this?

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    • June 20, 2011 at 11:55 am
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      Irene, I have met nurses, medical assistants, patients, and even rheumatologists who have never heard of a fever from active RA / JRA. I cannot explain it. This fever is the most simple evidence there is of systemic inflammation / disease activity. Basic knowledge that is not hard to look up or confirm with patients.

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  • June 20, 2011 at 5:26 pm
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    I remember my Rheumy not being able to figure out, for the LIFE of her, WHY I ran a fever when first being diagnosed. Of course I didn’t know it was part of the disease, and apparently neither did she! I can’t believe (since she is the only rheumy in my city) that she’d never come across this before! She did every test under the sun to find the underlying cause before she would start me on any biologic! NOW I know it’s part of it, but I would have thought SHE knew that when dx’ing me (in 2008). Now I actually run UNDER my normal temp! I’m usually 96.7-97.8 on a regular basis, even when in a flare (which is pretty constant). I’m not on any biologics anymore (had no insurance), so it isn’t that. I just believe that there are SO many symptoms of RA that are “undiscovered”. If the medical community (doc’s, schools etc) would get over their God complexes and be OPEN to the many symptom’s we all deal with, I think they would find they are missing a whole HOST of symptoms that happen to us, that don’t fall under what is an “accepted” RA symptom. So many of us are diagnosed with Fibro, along WITH the RA, and I think THOSE symptoms are actually RA symptoms, but the doc’s haven’t been taught about those ones, so they don’t think it’s part of the RA.
    They need to get a huge group of us all together in one room and see what symptoms, besides the “normal” ones, we all have! I think it would be quite eye-opening for many in the medical community.

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    • June 20, 2011 at 7:50 pm
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      Dear Raini,
      I agree with you!
      The fevers and most of the FMS symptoms appear on older lists of RA symptoms.
      Also the RA stories on this site (soon to be about 100) are an attempt to begin to do just what you said – bring a more accurate picture of RA, espcecially early RA, to aid diagnosis.

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      • June 22, 2011 at 1:56 pm
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        It’s a brilliant strategy Kelly, getting all of these stories together! How do you/we bring them to the attention of the right people so that the “norm” is changed? It seems so huge. That’s why I admire you and am so loyal to you and your work. You are working hard to bring all of this to light. God bless.
        Raini

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  • June 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm
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    Kelly I read where you said you got the flushing heat at the onset. I get that constantly! It’s making me crazy. I feel my face start to flush, then my whole body, then I start sweating like I just got out of the shower. I have to literally change clothes as they are WET. Is this part of it too, from what you’ve read and experienced? or could it be something else? It’s embarrassing when I’m not home alone. It always happens when I lay down too, whether to nap or for the night. I’ve taken my temp during one of these episodes, and though my skin in places feels HOT, my temp is not elevated. Very confusing. My GP has tested my thyroid over and over with “normal” results, but I don’t trust that as he tested me for RA over and over for 3 years before referring me to my rheumy. Is there a different doc I should see?
    I know you don’t give medical advice, I’m just wondering if it’s similar to anything you’ve come across. Thanks for any input :).

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  • February 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm
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    WoW!! So great to read about me here 🙂 My low grade temps for over a year led me to a Infectious Disease doctor who actually found Mastoiditis (no symptoms). When the Mastoiditis was resolved but the temps of 99.9 remained he shipped me off to a Rheumatologist. My Rheumatologist was not impressed with the temps and said, “Not a symptom of RA.” but ordered a RF which was negative. At some point he ordered a Anti-CCP which was positive and there you are. I have RA as also does my mother.
    I love this site, I am an RN in a busy med-surg hospital and I devour all news on RA. I lurked in the corners of this website without posting for a year or more. There is strength and sunshine within these pages. Thank you 🙂

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  • March 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm
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    my fever runs usually 99.5 to 100 it gets frustrating

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  • March 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm
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    My rheumatologist always measures my temperature. It is consistently in the 99.5-100.4 range. In fact, every time I have visited my primary care doctor, it has been a precise 99.7. She has said that I have the most consistent body temperature of anyone she has ever known. The only time in my life when I have not had a temp in that range was during the “full” remission I enjoyed during a 5-year-period when I was a teenager. Even when I don’t have visible joint swelling, I still have the low-grade fever.

    On a side note, my husband has a distinctively low body temperature, which is sometimes in the 97 range. He has frequently had doctors question the measurement, thinking that the thermometer was malfunctioning. We make quite the pair and add to the “opposites attract” argument. When I wake up from night sweats, it is nice to cuddle up to someone who feels like a block of ice.

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  • March 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm
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    My rheumatologist takes all of my vitals at every visit, but has never mentioned RA fevers, nor have I noticed any.

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  • March 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm
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    I have always been 1 or 2 degrees above normal when my temperature is taken. And all my rheumy appts. include taking my temperature. I’ve never seen any doctor that didn’t take my temperature. – Maryland

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  • March 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm
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    Thanks Kelly, my rheummy takes my temp at every office visit along with blood pressure and pulse. He also examines each joint for tenderness, warmth and swelling. i run RA fevers when I flare

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  • March 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm
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    I have a low normal body temp. I have run low grade fevers all of my life. My family always knew when I had a fever because I would get fever blisters on my mouth constantly. Our family Dr. diagnosed me with fevers of unknown origin. I am now 38 and it still occurs nearly everyday. My family have always teased me about the constant shivering and then hot cycles that I go through constantly. They all think that if my temp is 99 it shouldn’t bother me at all but all I feel like doing is cuddling up in my covers and crying because I ache so bad. I took water aerobics at our local gym and they keep the water at 86. There were days that when I walked down into the pool it would take my breathe away and I would have to get out and skip the class. Recently we went on vacation to a water park that keeps their water at 84 degrees. I rode one ride and then had to sit the rest of the day out because I had a low grade fever and the water was ice cold to me. My husband was a little upset because we had paid quite a bit for those tickets but he knows I’m telling the truth if the water is freezing cold to me. My rheumy never takes my temp but knows when I tell him I’ve been running a fever that the inflamation is acting up again. I take Synthroid, Plaquinel, Methotrexate, Arava, and Remicade. I wish more people understood this and other aspects of RA better.

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  • March 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm
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    I always have a fever during the first few days of a flare. I also periodically get extremely flushed with no fever – but my face is burning hot. I constantly go around either too hot or too cold (mostly too hot).

    I’ve noticed for the past couple of years that once my feet get cold it takes forever to get them warm again, and then they get too hot.

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  • March 27, 2012 at 9:47 pm
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    I’ve been running low grade fevers for a long time and never understood why. I’m newly diagnosed with seronegative RA and now it all makes sense. I’m planning on keeping a log of all my symptoms so I can see if there’s a pattern.I’m 5 days post my first MTX med and I’ve ran low grade fevers. I had one today, 99.2. All the things I’ve been thru the years is all coming together now. And my Rheum took my temp on my visits.

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  • June 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm
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    I run a fever everyday. Starts out in the morning at around 99.1 and can go put to 101.1. My last appointment my temp was 99.8 and my Rheumy said, ” Well that’s not much of a temp.” she dismissed it completly. My temp can be high and I can see active inflammation, but my blood panels (with the exception of a high positive Ana) are all normal. Plaquenil and sulfasalazine is offering very little relief. Oh and tylenol or ibuprofen NEVER bring it down. 🙁

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  • July 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm
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    I have been tracking my fever for the past few months. I run 99.7 to 101.6. I didn’t understand this was RA related but after reading the articles and posts from this amazing website (Thank you!)I am convinced this is just going to be the norm for me. No doctors could explain, my Rheumy didn’t seem real concerned. I on the otherhand feel concerned because the slightest elevation in temp for me is felt in a big way and ruins my day completely. My whole body hurts when I run fever. Meds don’t work much to bring it down either.

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  • July 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm
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    I have been running a fever between 98.8 and 100.5 for the past 6 days- no other symptoms other than the usual joint pain. I googled RA and fever and am overjoyed to find it on my favorite resource website. My husband called my doctor and my doctor said not to take methotrexate if I had a fever (I had already taken the meds). I was recently diagnosed and have no idea if I have a virus or an RA fever but being I have no other symptoms and it seems like an RA fever based on what I am reading. I’m afraid to be off methotrexate because I dream of being well soon. What is the protocol to stop taking the dmards? This is just crazy.

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    • July 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm
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      Hi Shelly. Dmards don’t have to be weaned – if you ever need to stop, you can. But of course, it should be for a good reason or with a dr’s advice. The fever of RA is part of the disease activity in many people with the disease. It would be a good idea to keep track of your temperature – maybe write it down since it’s new for you. Then let your docs know about it. If you don’t develop any virus symptoms, it’s likely the RA. Another way to tell is that RA fevers are usually “low grade” the way yours has been, not the really high temps you get with a virus. Almost everything with RA is “usually” & an RA fever can spike. It’s more common with kids, but I have seen it & had it happen to me.
      I hope your meds work well for you & you’re feeling a bit better soon. You’re right – pretty much the whole RA package is crazy!

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      • July 10, 2012 at 9:25 pm
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        Thank you so much for your response Kelly. It has to be kind of overwhelming trying respond to so many posts. You are appreciated and I hope you are able to fully grasp how wonderful you are for creating the most amazing online resource for RA. I don’t know what I would have done without all of your hard work and time put in explaining and allowing others to explain the natures of this disease. This website makes me feel oddly “normal.” haha. Thank you again, sincerely.

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  • July 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm
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    If you can stand one more RA fever story! Remicade was starting to cause more problems than it was helping. I was having severe lung issues. In the Fall, I started running a low grade fever. I usually ran about 97.5. Then it started to rise. By afternoon or evening it would be 99.5-101. Nothing to get my PCP concerned. I started keeping a fever log. That got my Rheumatologists attention. To rule out anything exotic, I went to an infectious disease specialist. Two visits and some bloodwork later, and the specialist told me it was most likely RA related. And, that it would improve once we could get my inflamation under better control. Now, I’m on Rituxan and for the most part, the fevers have abated. However, they have slowly started to return. The Rituxan doesn’t seem to be working well anymore. Could be the reason for the fevers. Some background: I was diagnosed at age 5; I am now 53. I have 2 art. hips and 2 art. knees. Thanks for listening!

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  • August 18, 2012 at 5:09 am
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    Great post Kelly, my rheummy takes my temp, bp and hr at each visit along with a thorough exam of all of my joints and checks how the range of motion is for each joint also. Along with a complete history of any symptoms that I may be experiencing since my last visit

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    • August 18, 2012 at 9:16 am
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      You have a good dr Vickie, but you already know that 🙂 I hope for the day when all of our patients can have what you have.

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  • August 18, 2012 at 12:50 pm
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    My RAD doctor never takes my temp. Just weight and BP. I always run a temp and my GP said it was RA or MTX. Everytime my boyfriend hugs me he says “baby u r running a fever” so I am use to it. I ask my RAD doctor and he said he did not think it was the RAD or the MTX. Think it may be time for new RAD DOC. HE was good for my dad. But I really don’t know about for me.

    Plus my GP ask me the last time I went to her if I thought I was getting good treatment there.

    The fatigue, fevers, nausea and pain are bad this week.But RAD doc said Tuesday the swelling is better. Go figure.

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  • August 26, 2012 at 11:03 pm
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    Rhuemi checks temp bp and pulse every visit. I have always had normal 98.6 temp. Been through 3 biological, mtx, and others meds. Doing rituxan now. Fevers everyday. Feel like a kids…normal in morning, higher by lunch, highest at night. 100.4. Have run fevers at drs office. She doesn’t mention them. Run fevers before infusions, during and after. They just watch them. I can tell temp going up by my eyes. 🙂 if I close them and they burn… I know I am running a fever. Can’t guage on felling bad. 🙁 that’s a lot of the time 🙁

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  • January 21, 2013 at 7:58 pm
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    Ah, this disease is so frustrating. I have family members with RA so when I started feeling stiff hands about six weeks after giving birth and someone suggested that it could be RA I’ve been trying to figure it out ever since. Is it possible to never have a fever, even when your hands are stiff and swollen? my temperature is always normal. I also have a high energy level (ESP for someone who is up half the night with a baby and has two kids under two). My specialists appointment isn’t for a while yet and not knowing is so frustrating. The pain was waking me in the night, the stiffness would last for hours in the morning. But now I’ve started carpal tunnel treatment and trigger finger treatment and the stiffness in my hands goes away for the most part when I shake my hands in the morning, it stiffness comes and goes throughout the day but isn’t painful or the stiffness is so minor.

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  • July 27, 2013 at 6:21 pm
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    Anyone have tachycardia along with the fevers? I was diagnosed about a year ago after a knee surgery and running fever. Once controlled by ra meds, the fevers went away, but now they are back for over 16 days along with weakness and tachycardia.

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    • August 1, 2013 at 2:04 pm
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      Kaye, I noticed no one answered you yet. I’ve not had tachycardia with RA fevers over 7 1/2 yrs of frequent fevers. If that keeps up, you should mention it to your docs. It could be so many different things I hate to guess. Maybe just high thyroid or hormones – or a side effect from a med – but just in case it’s serious, let your docs/ nurses know.

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  • August 26, 2013 at 10:26 am
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    Just a side note I was thinking of…TYPICAL body temperature is 98.6. That isn’t everyone, that’s the average for all folks, all different times of the day.

    My average temperature is actually 97.8. Yeah, I promise, I’m human.

    So, when I run a low grade fever I get scoffed at because it doesn’t APPEAR to be one. It’s raised to…the average a lot of times. Which, by the way, is NOT my average.

    Just another fascinating this body works. Unfortunately, I know it better than the doctors do.

    Jennifer

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  • November 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm
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    What can be done about,or how to treat fevers?
    Vernadette

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  • February 1, 2014 at 3:51 pm
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    I have struggled with having a fever, since the onset of my RA. I literally thought I had the flu, when I was diagnosed! For me, personally, low-grade fevers usually usher in a weather change. Weird; huh? The pressure is dropping, outside. The rain is approaching. My joints are achy. Then, I get chills. I know, before I ever get the thermometer, that I’ve got a fever (usually 99.6-100 range). I have been on Methotrexate, for 3 years. My RA symptoms have diminished a lot. But … if it’s Fall/ Winter/Spring and a weather change is about to take place, you can bet money that I’ll get a low-grade fever. I’m fighting one, as I write this. After a while, you just learn to keep a sweater and/or afghan handy.

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  • July 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm
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    I actually had a whole series of fevers a couple of years prior to having any symptoms in my joints. The fevers came every three months like clockwork for 15 months and would last five days with intense night sweats. Had all kinds of tests, bloodwork, even a bone marrow biopsy and none of the doctors could find anything. I have looked at a lot of RA sites and haven’t found anyone who experienced this prior to their RA diagnosis but I am convinced it was a precursor to the disease (also had iritis around the same time).
    Since being diagnosed with RA last year and starting a course of methotrexate/plaquinil the fevers have abated somewhat and now I get low-grade fevers that last a couple of days every two months or so (actually have one now). On a side note, I had to stop taking methotrexate five weeks ago because my blood counts were too low, so I am wondering if this is something people commonly experience as a side effect of the drug.

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  • July 17, 2014 at 12:49 am
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    I have been diagnosed having Seron negative Rheumatoid Arthritis. I did not test positive for the RA factor but my doctor also said I have more symptoms that lean toward Psoriatic Arthritis however I do not have Psoriasis. I started having symptoms that were very very sudden, just one day I woke up with pain and a swollen toe and rapidly progressed to the conclusion it is a type of arthritis. I started having symptoms in March and in April I started having low grade fevers. I have had low grade fever every day since April and it is now July. My doctors seemed puzzled about the fever and couldn’t tell me why I had a fever they acted like it was not connected to the Arthritis. My Rheumatologist’s office does not take temps. They only do blood pressure and weight. As the inflammation gets worse I can tell that my temp starts to rise and can stay like that for hours. It seems to come and go but it does occur daily.

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  • June 16, 2015 at 1:57 pm
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    What if you are Rf negative? What other blood tests do you recommend to help with diagnosis?

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  • August 6, 2015 at 5:18 pm
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    My usual temp is around 96.4 – 96.8. Before and during a flare my temp runs 98.9 or so. Mostly I’ve been told that I don’t have a fever because it is so close to 98.6, but I will be hot and sweaty with chills, just like with the flu. So today I am aching and hurting all over. My body is throbbing, I have a headache and I have the hot chills. I’m at work so I can’t take my temp, but I guess I have a fever. I’m glad to read about this and know it’s not “nothing.” I take an anti-inflamatory daily and my pain medication includes tylenol. Should the fever respond to this or should I really take more? I’m not on biologics yet because the rheumatologist is not convinced I have RA yet because of my bloodwork.

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  • October 8, 2015 at 3:18 pm
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    What timing, I just left an Urgent Care because my Dr is out of town. I’m in a flair and always run a low grade fever when I am.
    She was ignorant of RA. She said no one ran fever with arthritis.
    I told her I have had it since I was in my 20’s and I’m 64 now and have always had a low grade fever with it. It feels like a very bad case of Flu but with joint pain in every joint in your body.
    My Rheumatologist told me this was common. My sed rate gets up to 140 sometimes! That’s a lot of Inflammation flowing in your body.
    Anyway, she treated me for a bacterial infection!!! Lol
    I don’t take any of the high risk meds for it anymore. Not worth it .this is the care you get at your local Urgent care clinics.

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  • December 13, 2015 at 9:36 pm
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    I have pretty much run a low grade temp every day for past 2-3 years…..been diagnosed officially for almost 2 years…..I’ve mentioned it multiple times to RA doc, The last time being 2 months ago…..she said that that was odd but that it wasn’t related to RA…….yet I see fever as symptom every where….

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  • December 16, 2015 at 9:35 am
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    Prior to being diagnosed, I ran a continuous low grade fever every day for a year.

    Due to other problems, my body temperature runs a very cool 94.6 normally. So that what other medical professionals would consider a “normal” body temperature would be a raging fever for me.

    Then there is the problem of being on long term immunosuppressive drugs. Many of these medications also suppress the biochemical expression of pyrogenes (the chemical messagers that “spark” fevers). This is one of the reasons that infectious diseases are so dangerous to those on these types of medications. Fever is the human body’s attempt to kill or at least retard bacterial growth. Without this defense, infection can grow / spread at a much more rapid pace. Without Pyrogene production, our body temperatures are lower than normal and our chance of developing severe infections increases.

    Most Rheumies *know* when THEY feel “feverish”, no matter what a thermometer reads. I always encourage other RA patients to keep track of their normal temperature and note when they are feeling feverish. As the rise and fall of body temperature can help your doctor understand what might be causing the fluctuations.

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  • December 16, 2015 at 3:35 pm
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    My Rheumatologist always takes my temp. Every visit. I actually asked him once why I always felt so cold and he explained that with RA our joints stay swollen, and fevered and it usually makes your whole body feel this way. This is pretty much an everyday occurrence for me but since I have a sub-normal “normal” temp (only 96.4)the MA’s act like I’m fine. He has also told me that the meds I take (methotrexate and Rituxin)can elevate your temp slightly. But hey I’m still working and not in the wheelchair yet (which they predicted 8 years ago) So I can live with slight fevers

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  • December 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm
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    I get fevers almost every night, one minute I’m sweating the next I’m shivering, all night. But in the day I’m freezing cold all the time.. jumpers/blankets/coat even when everyone else is in shorts/t-shirt. Been told by Dr it’s probably to do with my RA but reading through these posts I seem to be the only one that only has fevers at night.

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  • February 24, 2016 at 10:43 pm
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    They take mine every time I see my Rheumatologist which is every 2-3 months. They also do blood work, blood pressure and weight every time as well. But I notice that I feel feverish only on the inside, if that makes sense.It doesn`t show up on a thermometer. My cheeks feel warm and are red, I feel a “fever” type feeling, like when your pretty sick. My eyes burn and then after a while, it breaks, I break out in sweat and get a chill.

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  • November 22, 2016 at 11:45 am
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    I get low grade fevers almost everyday. 99-101. They only usually last for a few hours and typically hit me around 3:00-5:00. I used to think I was getting sick each time because they accompanied by flu like symptoms i.e. Aching joints, fever and fatigue. What I think I figured out is in the late afternoons my body is just done for the day and in need of a rest. Of course, as a mother and wife that is the busiest time of the day. Thank god my youngest and only child of three is the only one left at home and she now drives herself to her multitude of activities. It is a very common symptom of RA but as you can see a lot of Rd warriors are unaware of this as are so many doctors. Most doctors don’t even look twice at a fever of less than 100.5. However even at 99 I get that awful feeling a fever brings with it.
    My rheumatologist is with Kaiser so as part of any office visit they always take your bp and temp.
    We are a family of autoimmune warriors- daughter diagnosed with JIA at twelve and son with UC at 17 and me with RA and possibly MS.
    FIGHT ON WARRIORS. These diseases don’t own us!!!

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  • November 22, 2016 at 11:49 am
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    Sad a rheummy doesn’t know that RA is a systemic disease.

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  • November 22, 2016 at 12:00 pm
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    For a number of years have had intermittent low-grade fevers that no one ever could figure out why it was happening This was during my being diagnosed with Sero-Negative RA. Yet not even the Rheumy paid attention to the fever. We all knew darn well it wasn’t hot flashes since they don’t raise the body’s core temperature. Good to know.

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  • November 22, 2016 at 9:36 pm
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    I had an appointment with my RA doc today. My temp was taken, and is taken every time. It’s odd, but temp will run liw normally. 96.7 or so. So my temp may elevate at some points but rarely over 99.

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  • November 22, 2016 at 11:22 pm
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    Yes, I have constant low grade fevers. My “normal” temp has always been in the low 97 degrees I also have hypothyroid. So when my temp is 99.4. I feel terrible. SICK! My RA Dr ALWAYS takes my temp & BP & weight. I would love to see better research done on the RA / low temp relation.

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  • November 22, 2016 at 11:38 pm
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    After reading some other comments I realized that I hadn’t mention the fact that my RA has attacked my LUNGS. . I have been on Oxygen 24/7 for 18 months.

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  • February 6, 2017 at 8:59 pm
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    I have wondered why the fever now I know and being 74 you would have thought the the medical would have come up

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  • March 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm
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    Hi, I just got out of the worst RA in history. O would like to know if it happened to any one else in this same way? Me fever began after a stomach infection, in the morning i felt right and after sleeping for an hour in the afternoon I woke up and my knees could barely hold my weight, my wife took me to the doctor and as every minute passed pain got worse to the point that I couldn’t move any part of my body but my neck and head. My feet, knees, and wrists were all contracted and impossible to even touch. While my wife drove me to the hospital I felt excruciating pain with every bump in the road. I felt my whole body numb even my face. I could not move my fingers, or feet. I had to be taken out of the car by three people into a wheel chair, I got into the doctor’s office screaming out my lungs because of the pain just getting worse every second. After the doctor saw me he gave me a ketorol injection and orders to get entered to the hospital. Ketorol took and hour to get the pain low enough so that I could be moved in the wheel chair, I was then admited into hte hospital and got medication to lower my fever and several tests which showed an infection, possibly salmonella. The next day I was feeling 80 % better and today I was able to get out of the hospital walking pain free and I am writting this from my work.

    I’m a 28 year old male with three years of symptoms and diagnosed with RA two years ago. Thanks to a good doctor I always had my RA in check, I work as a gym instructor so I never felt anything like this. Actually I have never been hospitalized in my whole life.

    So im wondering if anything like this happened to anyone else. It looks like I ate somehting very bad and good an infection which due to my reduced defenses (you know, the medication) it turned into a very high fever (over 38 °c) and that made all of my joints swell to the point of complete impossibility to move and a pain that I would rate 10/10, and I am a gym and martial arts instructor, I got my nose and several bones broken and set back without anesthesia in some cased, so I have quite a good tolerance to pain. But this one really had me crying and begging on my knees for help.

    Any thoughts?

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  • February 5, 2019 at 5:05 pm
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    I was diagnosed at 8yo with RA, but the diagnosis was treated as suspect because bloodwork is completely normal aside from elevated cholesterol. Guess what is typical in sero-negative RA? I am still being treated like a hypochondriac by the rheumatologist.
    Last couple of doctor visits, my temp (normally 97.6) was 99.5 My hip dysplasia pain is far worse than usual just now. I think it may just be related!

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