The inflammatory burden of the complex rheumatoid arthritis (RA) disease affects several organ-systems, including rheological properties of blood and its formed elements. Red blood cells (RBCs) are constantly exposed to circulating dysregulated inflammatory molecules that are co-transported within the vasculature; and their membranes may be particularly vulnerable to the accompanying oxidative stress. In the current study, we investigate biophysical and ultrastructural characteristics of RBCs obtained from a cohort of patients using atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and confocal microscopy (CM). Statistical analyses of AFM data showed that RA RBCs possessed significantly reduced membrane elasticity relative to that of RBCs from healthy individuals (P-value < 0.0001). SEM imaging of RA RBCs revealed increased anisocytes and poikilocytes. Poikilocytes included knizocytes, stomatocytes, dacryocytes, irregularly contracted cells, and knot cells. CM imaging of several RA RBCs, spectrin, and band 3 protein networks portrayed the similar morphological profiles. Analyses of CM images confirmed changes to distribution of band-3 skeletal protein, a protein critical for gaseous exchange functions of the RBC and preventing membrane surface loss. Decreased membrane deformability impairs the RBC's capacity to adequately adapt its shape to navigate blood vessels, especially microvasculature, and this decrease is also reflected in the cell's morphology. Changes to morphology and deformability may also indicate loss of functional domains and/or pathological protein and lipid associations. These findings suggest that RA disease and/or its concomitant factors impact on the RBC and its membrane integrity with potential for exacerbating pathological cellular function, hemorheology, and cardiovascular function.