JRA.... Journal of a Radical Arthritis Chick

Here I give advice, speak of my experiences and give information to those who want to better understand Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am NOT a medical professional, and you should always seek advice from a doctor.

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Location: MA, United States

Hello everyone! I am 28 years old and was diagnosed with JRA (Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis) when I was just 3 years old. I've had my battles with this disease over the years, and have decided to create a blog. I want to share my stories and adivce with other RA chicks, or anyone interested, to raise awareness and get insight from others. Feel free to comment/question me about anything. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Low fevers and RA

Thank you Brenna for suggesting this as a topic for my blog!  Have any of you noticed that you have a low fever?  Even when I'm sick, I don't tend to run fevers.  I thought it was odd, and found out from talking to fellow RA sufferers, they are the same.  I wanted to take the time to do some research into this matter, and of course, share it with all of my readers!

 I did a poll among friends, and fellow RA sufferers to see what temperature they normally run.  I was curious with the results and wanted to start off by sharing them with you.  Me: 97.6°, Melanie: 96.7°-97.1°, Marie: 97°, Hannah: 99°, Brenna: 97.6°-98.1°.  Most of us seem to run on the lower side.

First off, a fever of about 99°F or higher usually means there is an infection in the body.  As soon as the cause of the fever is found, and treated, the fever should go away.

An autoimmune disease is when the body’s immune system goes wacko and attacks itself, destroying normal tissues as if it were a foreign substance, basically like a virus.  When this happens, the body reacts as it normally would during a virus, including a fever.  A chronic fever, even low-grade, is very common among those who have an autoimmune disease.   Patients with rheumatoid arthritis often experience a low-grade fever when there is inflammation and pain present.   A true high fever, one ranging 100.4° F or higher, is not normal for RA, this usually indicates an infection is present.  Patients with RA are at an increased risk of infection, so when you have a high fever, you know something is wrong.  If you are running a fever of 101°F or higher, it is advisable to call your doctor right away.   
Typically, we experience fevers, even low ones, when there is a flare present.  It varies by person, some run low, some run high, but there is more to it than that.  After reading through some articles, I found out that not only having RA can cause low-grade fevers, but NSAIDs as well can be the culprit!  Think about it, when you aren’t feeling well most people take Tylenol® or Advil ®, which are used to lower one’s fever.  NSAIDs are used as treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and while reading through side effects of medications like aspirin, and prednisone, low fever was one of them!  It was advised that if you are running a low fever, to avoid these medications , because having a low fever is actually not good for you.
Having a low fever may attribute to some of our symptoms and daily lives.  Having a low body temperature can cause things like: Fatigue, headaches, migraines, PMS, easy weight gain, depression, irritability, fluid retention, anxiety and panic attacks, hair loss, poor memory, poor concentration, low sex drive, unhealthy nails, dry skin and hair, cold intolerance, heat intolerance, low motivation, low ambition, insomnia, allergies, acne, carpal tunnel syndrome, asthma, odd swallowing sensations, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle and joint aches, slow healing, sweating abnormalities, Raynaud's Phenomenon, itchiness, irregular periods, easy bruising, ringing of the ears, flushing, bad breath, dry eyes/blurred vision, and more. 
Our body depends on certain enzymes to keep it running properly.  When our temperatures run high, or low, the enzymes go along with it.  In order to maintain normal function, or body temperatures must remain in the normal range, otherwise they cause symptoms like the ones listed above.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t too much information about those with RA and low fevers.  It seems that having a flare, and/or some of our medications seem to be the cause of it.  I’d advise that if you seem to run really low, bring it up to your doctor and see what he or she has to say about it.  Maybe it’s your medication, or maybe it’s a sign your medication isn’t working, or maybe it’s just normal for us to have low fevers.  Hopefully in the future, there will be more research into this.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

My normal temp runs 97.4 to 98.2. I run a temp of around 99 to 99.4 when I'm in a flare. I've taken NSAIDS for a long time for various things and it has never affected my temps up or down. RA flares are the main problem...it's a bummer. Not much you can do about it but carry on.

July 28, 2011 at 8:23 PM  
Blogger Lauren V said...

Hi Mallory, my name is Lauren and I am 27 and have had JRA since I was 2, very similar story! Would love to talk, please email me lauren@jaylaenterprises.com xx

September 23, 2011 at 3:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I was searching for info on low grade fever with RA and found your post. I've had a low grade fever 99-100 for 18 months! My joints are okay,I have flares off and on, but no swelling with them. I don't take nsaids, just mtx. The rheum thinks I'm in remission, but I have the lg fever and malaise always. It baffles me, and he doesn't have an answer. Thanks for your post.

October 31, 2011 at 2:04 PM  
Blogger Amy Nicole said...

Every now and then, usually when I eat the wrong foods or under a lot of stress, My RA will flare up bigtime, and with that comes a fever of about 99 to 101. It can last for days, and no med will break it. When my body isn't flaring, I just ache all over mildly. I just came off of a four day flare up! I sweat buckets when my fever finally broke :/

August 13, 2012 at 4:33 PM  
Blogger Amy Nicole said...

Anonymous, you need to get tested for Lyme Disease.

August 13, 2012 at 4:34 PM  

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