Should I a doctor about possible RA?

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I'm a 28 year old female.. I have been having joint pain that concerns me but because of my high deductible with insurance I don't go to the doctor unless it's absolutely necessary. About 5 weeks ago my right shoulder started hurting, a few days later my left shoulder was hurting too.. I assumed i was sleeping wrong.. the pain hasn't gone away.. about a week ago I woke up with both knees hurting, I can't squat down to pick up anything without pain and if I do its hard to get back up.. within a couple days I woke up with both hands, wrists, and elbows hurting and my fingers and wrists are tight feeling.. like the feeling i had when i was pregnant and holding fluid, but for the most part there is no visible swelling.. all of my fingers hurt, but my index finger on both hands is the worst and the knuckle at the base of both pinky fingers. The base of both thumbs and my wrists are pretty bad too. It's hard to open door knobs, soda cans, etc.. it hurts to pick up my 2 yr old and some nights I can barely pull the covers over me in bed. I feel like something is wrong but but of all the joints hurting me, only my index fingers look a little swollen and are slightly tender.. there is no redness or tenderness in any other joints, they only hurt when I move them. I'm just looking for opinions as to whether I should go on in to the doctor or wait and see if it gets worse since it's not an unbearable pain and hardly any swelling. Any input is appreciated.. thanks in advance.

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  • Posted

    Hi

    Sorry to hear you have this pain and stiffness.

    sounds like inflammatory arthritis - but that could mean anything from short term reaction to a virus to the beginnings of rheumatoid arthritis or similar

    So maybe it s good to go see a doctor  because if it is RA then it s important to get an early diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible as this helps long term outcomes( which are much more favourable now than 10 years ago because of newer treatments)

    I m afraid it sounds very like how my RA began - so best to take it further rather than delay. 

     

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  • Posted

    Hi Ashley, first of all I am sorry about the insurance issue. It can be RA but it can be something else too, starting with TSH issues which are very common after pregnancy or liver problems (can happen after pregnancy too). Are you increasingly tired since the birth giving? Although you are two years after so it's a very delayed start... I am asking this as in my opinion you should go and see the dr in either case. What you are describing fits RA (unfortunately). But it escalates very fast from what you describe and it's somehow symmetric. That's less common with RA at its first stages but does fit other possible autoimmune problems. Sorry to bring this up but depression is something that can trigger completely physical response too... And it's common after pregnancy as well... Shortly, I think that you should see a dr / from what you describe it seems that whatever you have escalates. Hence blood tests are a minimum to do. I hope that they will find what's wrong with your body. I wish I could say that lack of swelling and redness mean that it's not RA. It's not a sure sign - but you are young - tend yourself now rather than waiting for increase in pain (speaking from experience). It will cost more to treat something developed chronic.. Good luck!
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  • Posted

    Thank you both for reading and responding.. one of you mentioned depression.. I have had depression off and on since I was a teenager and it was really bad after my pregnancies.. all 3 of them. I did have aches and pains but it was a different kind of pain if that makes sense.. but with the extreme fatigue that has hit me recently, I will definitely mention my history of depression to the doctor when I go.. the fatigue has been so bad since this started, that some days I can't even get up to get my kids to school on time because I'm so tired.. it's been really bad the past 2 weeks.. The only reason I didn't immediately assume it was my depression returning is because I usually have bad mood swings and withdraw from everybody during my depressive episodes and I haven't had any of that in a while. It probably seems crazy for me to jump to something so serious as my first assumption but there were (they have passed away) a few cases of RA in my family and a more closely related family member (who recently passed) had some type of autoimmune disorder, not RA though. Either way, I'm gonna take both of your advice and get on in to the doctor because whatever this is, it needs to be checked out.. thanks again for your time : )
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    • Posted

      Ashley, sometimes a doctor can be intimidating or tend to put you off and you forget to tell them everything. I suggest you make a list of your pains and how they are affecting you, plus your family history and make sure he understands this is different from your depression pain. Make your time count, it is very important since you have insurance to deal with. 
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    • Posted

      I know exactly what you mean about the intimidation.. it even happens when I take my kids to the doctor! I am gonna sit down while it's all fresh in my memory and make a list like you suggested and add to it if anything new shows up... I did something similar for my daughter (she has epilepsy) and it helped tremendously when the doctors needed to know specific details..
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    • Posted

      Your doc will probably do a blood test and there are certain things you need to be familiar with like CRP and a couple other things. I hope someone jumps in and tells you exactly what they are because I am still confused on them. Sometimes they are not positive and it doesn't mean you don't have RA, it just don't show. On my first visit to the specialist, they did xrays of my hands, don't know why because I had it in my shoulders but they may want to do one on you. Just try and make every second count and being informed helps tremendously. You are your only advocate smile
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    • Posted

      I'd add to that that you take someone with you, notebook and pen, get them to write stuff while the doctor talks and you listen. A third person makes a big difference.

      Then together go over everything that was said right after you come out.

      Best of luck!

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  • Posted

    Ashley - i too have systemic arthiritis. I believe it started as a virus that attacked firstly my first or pointer finger, knuckle joint, GP ignored the symtoms and said it was post viral. I had had a nasty dose of the flu or very nasty cold in the months previous.

    From there it advanced through my joints, affecting wrists, shoulders, but I had alot of swelling, you could not see my knuckles at all the swelling in my hands was so bad.

    Tests for your Dr, these can also be affected by a virus, ESR and CRP, mine have been as high as 77 ESR and 36 CRP, currently 45 ESR and 17.5 CRP with medication.

    Just to complicate the issue I come back sero-negative for RA and also my genetic test for Psorasis Arthritis also comes back NIL, but specialist tells me I have the symtoms of psorasis arthritis, it is a complication of skin psorasis, so she is treating me for that, with some success.

    She also tells me there is over 100 different types of arthritis so choose your kind, you really are in the land of best guess it seems.

    specialist has me on 6000mg of odourless Fish Oil, a day, thats 6 x 1000mg capsules, that I have with food, as it seems to be the only way I can tolerate, they do work, they settle the immflamation and the aches and pains in other joints as well.  Disadvantages - Makes you hair very greasy, I wash every morning, and now keep my hair very short for convience, also have to be careful if you are on blood pressure tablets, you have to work with your DR, as the fish oil can drop your blood pressure, Benefits - no dry skin, always have had a tendency to have lizard skin on my legs especially, and the micro lines around your eyes vanish as your skin plumps out.

    Look after yourself and i hope you can come up with some answers.

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  • Posted

    helo ashley, sorry to hearn you are in discomfort, the 3 main things of the joints is heat, pain, and swelling. This doesnt mean you havent got r/a. I had my first bout of inflammation 10 years ago but only diagnosed with r/a last year after a full body bone scan which revealed active inflammation. it will be a long road ahead of you darling so do start the process now. im still not in remission and esr@ 74 and crp@61, so it will or could be years down the line to get a diagnosis . It may just be starting to tell you there is something wrong. i wish you all the best finding what you are looking for. like i say it took me years to find out but it doesnt change the fact that it is a life long illness without much of break, well in my case anyway. good luck hunny. xx
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    • Posted

      Thanks ma'am... that's kinda what I was worried about... that I'll go in and leave with no answers and a big bill. After reading some onset stories, I've seen that for so many people, like you said, it does take years to get a diagnosis.. whether its ra or something else.. But either way, if I go on in now, at least the doctor will have it documented in my chart.. I'm expecting to leave my first visit with no more info than I have now.. and I guess that's okay because I'm not in terrible pain.. right now, whatever it is, it makes little things hard to do and with 3 young children, there's lots of little things that the pain I do have interferes with.. like cooking and fixing my little girls hair, picking up their toys, changing diapers, etc.. I don't have to tell that to any of you though because you are living with ra... I don't know for sure that anything is wrong with me.. it just feels like there is. I came here to ask of my symptoms were worth going to the doctor over and I got that answer, thank you all for your time and opinions : )
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  • Posted

    Hello. 

    Do you have extreme fatigue?

    Do you struggle to walk up stairs?

    Does it hurt when you press on your sternum?

    Does it hurt when you press on your shins?

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  • Posted

    Ashley, I was going to tell you also, get copies of your reports, blood tests, all lab reports. If you end up going to muptiple doctors they will come in handy. Keep a diary of events so you can relate them to your doctor and also it will come in handy when you look back at certain events. You don't have to write in it every day, just when you have flares, etc...
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