Rheumatoid Arthritis?

hope4x Member Posts: 2
edited 9. Feb 2014, 04:59 in Young people's community

Back in September I started getting pains in my right knee and in the morning i'd wake up with really stiff hands. The stiffness would take a while to ease off and the pain would continue through the day, I was losing the strength to grip and doing things like typing or trying to hold a pen were difficult. I then started getting pains in my left elbow, all these pains carried on to the point I couldn't dress myself so I went to the doctor. Rheumatoid Arthritis runs in my family most of my aunties/uncles have it very badly. Doctor ran blood tests etc and they all came back fine. He said it could possibly be arthritis (reactive?) I think, that's due to an infection.

These pains have been coming back then going away for the past month but at the moment i've had them constantly for about 1 week. The pains are all in the same places as before. My right hand and knee being the most painful. On top of this I am really tired all the time, during these christmas holidays all I've mainly just slept and even then I still feel like I need more sleep.

I'm really worried as some of the articles and information I read online say there is no definite way to test for Rheumatoid. I don't want this to continue for months and then he suddenly turns around and says you now have Rheumatoid Arthritis. I am going to make another doctors appointment as I need something for the pain but does anyone have any advice or information?


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,686
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello hope4x. I can understand your concern and you did exactly the right thing by going to your GP as did he by giving you the blood test. However, it's true that some auto-immune forms of arthritis have a negative rheumatoid factor so the blood tests aren't necessarily helpful in diagnosing them.

    I think you should go back to your GP and explain how things are no better and ask to be referred to a rheumatologist. There is such a thing as Reactive Arthritis but, even if that's what you have, it needs to be looked at and properly diagnosed by a rheumatologist. With your family history you should have no trouble persuading him/her and it would be the wisest course of action. Please let us know how you get on.
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  • BluesWalk
    BluesWalk Member Posts: 48
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Referral can take 18 weeks here in Scotland. I personally went private and it cost around 200 pound. I know these seems alot but I was seen in like 1 week. The other benifit aswel as I could basically start medication straight away (including painkillers). It also helps becuase you can explain to your work/school watever, your circumstances. When I was diagnosed it took over a year of no working and getting to a stage where I could actually come back into society :( It's a tough break, but we all in it together! :)
  • Cariad71
    Cariad71 Member Posts: 99
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi hope,

    I agree you need to see your GP asap who should refer you to a rheumatologist. Good news is they are usually very quick at doing this I think because the emphasis these days is on early treatment to prevent the damage the inflammation can do. If some of your older relatives with RA are very disabled/Have deformed joints etc try not to assume you'll end up the same, they treat these diseases much earlier than they used to to prevent those things happening and there are a lot of treatments available.

    Like you I was negative for 'rheumatoid factor' which at the time thought meant I couldn't have RA. They call this 'sero negative'. It was years later when I asked the rheumatologist 'what is wrong with Me then?!' That he told me lots of people with inflammatory arthritis or even RA don't have rheumatoid factor. It also means if you do have arthritis its likely to be less aggressive than if you were positive for it so that's good news.

    I think they often assume when you're young it could be reactive arthritis, I remember the gp telling me that but it wasn't diagnosed as that by the rheum. There are many more blood tests they will do once you're seen by a rheum to help with diagnosis, and be prepared you won't necessarily be told straightaway 'this is RA' or 'this is x/y/z' but they will tell you if they think you've got an inflammatory type of arthritis and the treatment for many of the types is similar anyway. I still don't exactly know if I've got RA or ankylosing spondylitis but it doesn't really change thîngs.

    I hope you get seen by a rheumatologist soon and get some answers
  • Cariad71
    Cariad71 Member Posts: 99
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00

    Just found this link on this arthritis care website on spondyloarthritis/sero negative arthritis which you may find useful to answer some of your questions