Is it RA?

Posted , 5 users are following.

I think I have RA, but I am not sure.  I have a doctor's appt upcoming, and I'm really worried about it - does this sound like RA?

For the last week I've been waking up at 3 or 4 am with my hands really hurting - the left is worse but both are sore.  It hurts to flex the fingers, especially the index and thumb.  The most painful area is the joint at the base of the finger.  They feel stiff and really tender, and also weak - it's hard to use any strength in my hands.  The pain gets better as the day goes on and by evening, all I feel is just some mild stiffness and only the mildest echo of pain in the left hand.  There is no visible swelling - I think the left hand is a bit swollen but my husband doesn't see it, so I am thinking I might just be paranoid!  I also have some tenderness on the bottoms of my feet - the fleshy pad at the base of the toes.  

I have had very minor swelling and pain in my hands and feet before, and a couple months ago I was x-rayed with no findings. At that time I had no rheumatoid factor in a blood test so basically my GP said, it's just a weird blip, don't worry about it.  My dad has RA and I've been scared of it for years - now just this week my hands are bad.  Is there something else this could be?  It sounds like RA to me, based on my internet research, but I know that's not very reliable.  I'm thinking I have had a very slow and minor start to RA and it was not bad enough to be diagnosable back in the fall, but now it is progressing.  

I'm sorry if this sounds kind of paranoid or anxious - I'm not sure who to talk to.  Any thoughts from the group would be appreciated, thank you.

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  • Posted

    Hi Ann

    sorry to hear you have these symptoms and do feel for as you wonder what s happening and adjust to the possibility of RA especially as you have no doubt seen the effect on your dad.

    Well it certainly sounds like it could be the start of RA especially as a close family member has it.( that was one of the questions the consultant asked me)  I would ask your GP for a referral to a rheumatologist in view of the persistence of symptoms. Has he done a crp blood test to see if there are signs of inflammation ? Not all with RA have a positive rheumatoid factor.

    But try not to think the worst and don't assume you re going down exactly the same path as your dad. Even if it's RA everyone s experience is different and of differing severity. Some get a mild version .Also in the last 10 years there have been huge advances in medication for RA. Nowadays early diagnosis is vital as it leads to aggressive treatment to hold back joint destruction .

    While you wait for an appointment try to get enough rest/ sleep. Use paracetamol regularly for pain relief. Putting your hands in warm/ hot water in the morning might help with stiffness and tenderness. Keep fingers/ wrist joint moving as much as possible. 

    Hope you find your appointment helpful and get some clarity on your symptoms.

     

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  • Posted

    Sounds familiar!  I also started out with sore feet and didn't know why!   Then the base of my thumb started aching.  Eventually I noticed my hand on the opposite side was swollen!  Then the pain and multiple doctors to figure out what was wrong!  Blood work finally confirmed it!  

    A nurse looked at the palms of my hands and noticed red mottling and said that was a sign.  She also has RA!  An orthopedic doctor mentioned it too.  Ar the time I was trying to figure out what was wrong and it didn't sink in!  

    I sure wish you good luck!

    keep us posted!

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  • Posted

    Yes, it does sound like it. But don't be too afraid of it....As Rowbirdie says there are many fine treatments and though it may be a rough ride at the start it can become quite manageable.

    We tend to be hard onourselves with RA, pushing ourselves to get things done. That's the bit people need to be reminded of.... to be gentle with yourself, rest when you must, let other people know you need to shift into the slow lane.

    And enjoy the slow lane! It too has its good points

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  • Posted

    Just wanted to add my bit to emphasise one of Rowbirdie's points: not being positive for rheumatoid factor does NOT mean it can't be RA, it just means you are described as having seronegative arthritis, some sorts are typically so. Go back to your GP and remind them of this fact nicely and ask would they please refer you to rheumatology. If the usual one still insists it is nothing, try different doctors in the practice. If that doesn't work, speak to the practice manager.

    As the others say - there are major differences now to when your dad was first diagnosed, far better medication for a start, but they also realise it is best treated as early as possible. Something else to remind your GP about maybe. 

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  • Posted

    Hi - I just wanted to post my update. My GP has diagnosed me with RA based on blood tests (positive for Rh factor and the anti CCP antibodies) as well as the clinical symptoms as I described above. I'm seeing a rheumatologist next week for the first time. Thanks to all for your supportive words.
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