A fatigued woman laying on a couch melting into a puddle.

RA Fatigue Affects Every Aspect of Life

Last updated: May 2022

It often feels like there aren't any specific words to describe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) fatigue and how it makes us feel. Fatigue is one of the hardest symptoms to cope with when managing RA. Fatigue strikes at any moment and often throws a wrench in our daily plans or tasks.

You are not alone in your struggle in coping with RA fatigue. Results from our 2019 RA In America survey showed that fatigue is a symptom reported by 92 percent of survey participants living with RA. It's a symptom that affects daily life the most.

Understanding the impact of RA fatigue

RA Fatigue Is Complex, Poorly Understood, and Not Treated
Andrew Lumpe, PhD
"One important finding in disease-related fatigue research is that it has many complex dimensions including mental, physical, motivation, sensory, mood, social, intensity, duration, quality of life impact, and activity impact. Researchers also believe that fatigue symptoms may be disease-specific."

If Only There Was a Fatigue-O-Meter
Kelly Mack
"I think other people with fatigue struggle with this problem. We start to doubt ourselves. Am I really tired? Am I more tired than I was last week? A month ago? A year ago? A decade ago? How am I compared to the other day? Am I catching up? Am I falling behind? It doesn’t matter if the answers are bad, I just want to know the truth. I feel worse than years ago – is that true? "

Community Poll

What words would you use to describe your RA fatigue? (Check all that apply!)

Legit Beat
Tamara Haag
"Fatigue is my body’s call that I most often deny and ignore. For most people, “fatigue” is something experienced rarely, perhaps while having the flu. For those of us with rheumatoid arthritis/rheumatoid disease [RA/RD], it can be common, intense, and debilitating... In my ongoing efforts to be more in tune with my body, more honest about my limits, and kinder to myself, I’ve started trying to work through the denial of my fatigue."

Tired and Weary
Mary Sophia Hawks
"The exhaustion goes way beyond our capacity to describe to those without the disease. Recently my friend had the flu. She called me and said, “I can’t even get out of bed, everything hurts, and I’m exhausted!”I wasn’t very comforting in my response. “Welcome to my daily world,” I said. She was stunned. “You actually feel this way all the time?” And you know my answer. “Yes, this is what I have tried to explain to you.”"

How I Manage My Never Ending Fatigue
Monica Y. Sengupta
"There are no meds for it, I can’t anticipate it, and it controls me. So, how do I manage? The fatigue may wear out my body, which usually means a nice long nap but honestly, my brain doesn’t need rest of that kind very often. When sleeping isn’t an option and my body needs the rest I need something more to do than stare at the ceiling. Below are my tricks for fighting the monster we call lethargy."


The RA In America 2019 Survey was conducted online from June through September of 2019. A total of 3736 people completed the survey.

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