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why is it taking so long for my GP to diagnose me?

VictoriaPlumVictoriaPlum Member Posts: 22
Hi, I've had pain in the joints of my hands and feet for 4 months that effect my ability to grip and walk normally. The doc has done one lot of blood tests but the only one that came back abnormal was the RF one. he said 'it could be a red herring' and sent me for more tests but these are taking weeks to come back, in the mean time I'm in pain and exhausted. He's not convinced I have RA because the pain isn't accompanied with 'enough' swelling but all I want him to do is help discover what I do have as I can't carry on like this without knowing what I'm meant to do. Do other have symptoms like these, have others suffered like this too? Please help, feel really lonely right now


  • sorayasoraya Member Posts: 108
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there i know it takes a long time to be diagnosed im still waiting i hopefully get my results on friday after going through this since march this year, like you my pain started with aches in the joints difficulty moving with ease especially in the morning, if there is one thing i have learnt on here its that this takes a good while with some people for diagnosis, i know how frustrating it can be it can drive u nuts and you sometimes question whether your actually feeling what your feeling, hold on in there (easier said than done) have you been referred to rheumy yet if not your doctor should refer you after he/she has done all the blood tests they can, try to rest when your in pain and ask your doc for pain med if its bad, sending big hugs to let you know you are not alone :)
  • VictoriaPlumVictoriaPlum Member Posts: 22
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks for your support, it's comforting I'm not the only one. Sorry to hear you've been waiting for so long.

    No doc hasn't referred me yet, he doesn't seem to think its RA because he thinks there should be more swelling to accompany the pain, but he hasn't even examined my hands and feet, only done blood tests.

    It's hard to explain to my boss and people at work, they don't understand and I'm struggling to keep up at work.

    Thanks for replying so quickly
  • helpline_teamhelpline_team Posts: 2,079
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Victoria,

    Thanks for your post to Helplines. One option is to go back to the GP and ask him/her to examine you and talk you through their thoughts on your condition. You've not mentioned your age or any contributing factors, but body weight, your general health, lifestyle and family history are all relevant.

    As osteoarthritis (OA) is a much more common problem than RA, it's often worth checking this option out first. Examination can often do that, but x-ray can be needed in some cases. Best self management for OA is weight loss, and plenty of exercise.

    If you'd like some support, you are welcome to ring us and email [email protected] with your name and address if you'd like an information pack.

    I hope we can help further.

  • sorayasoraya Member Posts: 108
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    hi i think what the helpline are suggesting could be a good idea, i havent had a lot of swelling but my doc has said he thinks its defo rheumatoid in some way as my blood viscosity keeps coming back very high indicating inflammation of the joints, i hope you can get this sorted and just explain to your doctor how your feeling mentally aswell as i think this has an effect on how we deal with things, you cant go wrong on here for good advice, but until you get a definitive diagnosis try to be positive even if you write down all the questions you have and take them to your doc its a positive step, im sure it will be resolved soon take care Soraya x
  • tillytoptillytop Member Posts: 3,460
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Victoria and welcome to the forum.

    I am a forum member not a member of the helpline team but when I saw your post I felt I had to reply. I have had RA for nearly 16 years but I only usually have minimal joint swelling and, at the beginning even though I could hardly walk due to the pain in my feet, my blood tests were normal other than rheumatoid factor. Although there are lots of us out there with RA, it is not actually that common so a GP might only come across one or two cases in their entire career (if at all) so may well only be familiar with a "textbook" definition of RA if that makes sense.

    RA and other types of inflammatory arthritis can be difficult to diagnose and can only be properly diagnosed by a rheumatologist. Blood test results are only an indication and are not sufficient on their own to diagnose or rule out RA. So my advice would be to ask (or insist if need be) that your GP refers you to a rheumatologist for further specialist investigations. In the meantime hopefully your GP has prescribed some anti-inflammatory drugs and/or painkillers to try to give you some relief.

    The question of swelling comes up quite often on the forum and there are people who, like me, get very little swelling even when inflammation levels are high. If you repost your message on the Living with Arthritis forum I think you will get some helpful replies.

    Good luck.

    Thinking of you. Love TIllyx
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