Just going through test for possible RA

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Hi everyone. I started showing my symptoms about 3 months ago, very sharp pains in my wrists, thumbs, fingers, feet, ankles and knees. Very stiff in a morning and feeling exhausted & flu like symptoms. I have fingers that swell and look like sausages & my feet/ankles swell too. My GP did initial blood test 4 weeks ago that show elevated inflammatory markers etc so referred me to a Rheumatologist as he suspects RA. Just to add to this.. in 2009 I went to Drs about my sausage fingers, blood tests showed an RF factor but not high enough for GP to refer me at that time (he didn't explain what RF factor was so I had no clue what he was going on about & forgot all about it) Last week I had my first appointment with the Rheumatologist who asked me lots of questions, lots of blood tests taken and chest X-ray. Then today I had to go for an ultrasound scan at the hospital which they did on my hand, looking for Synovitis. The ultrasound showed no signs of Synovitis, which I was told was

good..but he also said I could still have RA but it is in the very early stages. I still have not had my blood tests results back yet..how long do they take to come back? It's been 8 days since I had the bloods taken. I am also waiting for an MRI scan too. My pain is horrendous and just walking to the garden causes horrific sharp pains in my wrists, fingers, knees, feet etc and the swelling comes on. Does anyone know can you have RA and not have Synovitis show on ultrasounds?

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  • Posted

    hi Tracey.

    in my case,for what it's worth,i didn't have a scan or ultrasound.only x-rays and bloods.my fingers and wrists came up like a balloon also.after x-rays I went back hospital for results and told there and then it's RA! various meds later and I am where I am.no worse(not that much anyway)no better.but as for synovitis it's just fluid build up.and you can have it without showing on scan.depends how early it's caught.hop it helps

    ivan.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply Ivan, I never knew the ins & outs about RA until a few weeks ago, it's a horrible thing to have. I'm not sure what my diagnosis will be. My Rheumatologist said she would write to me with the results. I'm on Meloxicam & Codine at the moment for the pain & inflamation. Dr first put me on naproxen & paracetamol 4 weeks ago but never touched the pain, then he tried solphodol still never worked. Rheumy put me on meloxicam last week & GP put me on Codine. It's definitely taken the edge off the pain. I'm hoping it's not RA, but the more I read about it & hear about others symptoms I'm sure it must be.

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  • Posted

    I was similar except my gp started me on prednizone right away. It helped with both the pain and swelling. All blood tests are negative and have been since. But all symptoms are RA. Have seen the rheumy three times since. Started on methotrexate and has to go off due to side affects. On leflunomide now. Hasn't really started working yet.

    X-rays were looking for any damage. I didn't have any yet. So that would be something to ask your rheumy.

    I'm also taking naproxen twice a day for pain. It definitely helps but doesn't releave it all.

    Reach out to your dr for pain relief. They should be able to give you something that helps!

    Good luck!

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your reply. Yes the pain management is a science in itself trying to get it right. GP put me on naproxen & paracetamol initially but didn't work, he then tried Solphadol but no change. Rheumy put me on meloxicam last week & GP put me on Codine, it's starting to ease the pain a bit better. I don't know how long it will take to get my results but hoping it's soon so I know what's going on & move forward. I don't know about you but my symptoms came out of the blue so aggressively! I am a hill walker & love the great outdoors, now I can't even walk to the garden without being in excruciating pain. So pleased for this forum & knowing I'm not the only one...

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    • Posted

      hi again Tracey.

      rowbirdie said it just like I meant to.treatment itself is a highly skilled practice.therell be times when you think "do they know what theyre doing?" but they're do.it always seems to work out..steroid jabs for me are a godsend. cant have too many in one year though. take heart. youll get there in the end. all best ivan.

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    • Posted

      Hi Ivan, I chased up with the Rheumy today as I still haven't heard anything from them. Her secretary called me back today to say that the Rheumy was awaiting MRI scan results before writing to me with results (I haven't had my MRI appointment through yet) however her secretary did tell me that all blood results "were normal" & the ultrasound scan on my hand was normal. My GP did blood test before my initial referral to Rheumy which showed raised inflammatory markers, at number 11. I also have a an RF marker. I'm still getting horrendous joint pain, in my wrist, base of thumb joints, ankles, toes & knees. so I'm confused as to how blood tests with the Rheumy are "normal". Can you have normal blood results & still have RA??

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  • Posted

    It sounds like they are making a diagnosis of RA in early stages which means they can start treating quickly and means there is no sign of joint damage yet. Blood tests should be ready in a week. Do you have another appt. To me it sounds like they need to get on with treating you.

    Mine came on very suddenly and painfully, first 1 shoulder , then base of thumb, then within a month knee and other joints. I know how you feel. It s a lot to cope with and adjust to. But nowadays there is so much better treatment than a generation ago. If the diagnosis is made they ll act quickly to give you a disease modifying med to hold back the disease progress and may well give you a cortico steroid jab to bring down inflammation( and pain) while waiting for that med to work. 

    It can take a while to find what works best for each individual, but you will get your life back. 

     

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    • Posted

      Hi Rowbirdie, thank you for your reply.  So, hopefully I'll be getting my results any time now then. I haven't got another appointment. She (my rheumy) just said at my first appointment last week that she'll be writing to me with the results.  Yes so bizarre how it just comes out of nowhere without warning. In a way you hope it's not RA but reading everyone's stories and symptoms, it does sound like I have it too. The meds sound a bit scary, re side effects. But like you say, they are needed to ease the condition. I also get little sharpe pains in my eye too, reading up on the internet it can also affect the eyes.  

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  • Posted

    You can have RA without positive blood markers.....I believe 1 out of 3 people have no positive markers. However, from what I have read, it is a matter of time, years perhaps, before the markers become positive. Everyone is different so there are no absolutes. Blood tests are often back in the same day the blood is drawn. So if the doctor's office has not called you, you are probably okay. But my rheumatologist always tells me to call for the results and they will tell me on the phone the results.

    You sound like me in the "early days" of RA until the meds are fine tuned. You should look forward to feeling much better with only an occasional flareup. Good luck to you!

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    • Posted

      Thanks Timothy, you have prompted me to call the hospital today & speak to my Rheumatologist secretary to chase up results. I told my GP on Monday that I still hadn't got my blood results from my Rheumy..he said some of them can take time to come back, especially anti ccp & vit D results. GP hadn't got anything through from her yet either, she (Rheumy) did say she would write to both GP & myself with the results. The hospital I go to, to see Rheumy, is over an hour away as my local hospital waiting time to initially see a rheumatologist was over 4 months..I'm hoping if a diagnosis is made they will let me transfer over to my local hospital rheumatologist & bring all of the results with me.

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    • Posted

      Hi Timothy, as I still hadn't heard anything from my Rheumatologist I chased up again today, her secretary called me back to inform that there has been no diagnosis yet as they are still awaiting MRI scan (which I've yet to have done) the secretary informed me that my blood test results are "normal" & my ultrasound scan was normal. My GPs initial blood results at point of referral showed raised inflammatory markers & RF marker, so I'm confused as to how Rheumatologist is saying rhe bloods test she did are normal. I'm still getting terrible pain & swelling in my joints & fatigue. Can you have normal blood results but still have RA?? My symptoms seem to tick every box!

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