OA or RA first Rheumatology appointment

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Kazzab123
Kazzab123 Member Posts: 26
edited 22. Feb 2014, 17:41 in Living with Arthritis archive
Hi This is my first post here, I've just discovered this wonderful forum on Facebook.

I'm 40 years old and I have had OA in my hip for 2 years and have had pain in my lower back, shoulder and fingers for a year, I had a shoulder xray in March 2013 which came back clear so the matter was closed as far as my gp was concerned and he vaguely said that it was likely to be arthritis as well in my fingers but my back pain was labeled as generalised back pain with no investigations done. My inflamatory ESR blood test was high but the other tests which indicate arthritis were clear however I had dangerous low levels of vitamin D for which I've been taking high doses of the vitamin since then.

In December I went back and saw a different gp as I now have pains in both knees, and one wrist and my shoulder has gotten worse and I now have a rheumatology appointment next month.

My question is how long do you think it will take to get a diagnosis, I'm not sure if I have OA or RA and I've been putting up with the discomfort for so long now I've only been taking ibruprofen or paracetamol when the pain is bad, but I'm fed up of putting a smile on my face and saying I'm ok when I'm not because I feel as though until I get an accurate diagnosis I can't be taken seriously as all I can say is I have back ache etc and feel like a hyperchondriac. Can anyone tell me how long it took for them to get a complete diagnosis or what is the difference between OA and RA?

Comments

  • nicole
    nicole Member Posts: 16
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Kazza
    Sorry I can't help you, but I am going through the same as you at the moment, all my tests were clear but x-rays show significant damage in hands, spine, hips and feet. Dr said OA at first but is now saying after reading the x-ray report that the damage is too extreme for my age - mid 40's and thinks RA now. In the last few weeks my neck has started to become stiff and painful mostly with lateral movements. I'm waiting for my first rheumatology appointment to come through which should be quickly as I have private healthcare through my job. The doctor did say that I should be able to get a fairly quick diagnosis based on tests to date and symptoms - maybe I'm being too optimistic! I'd be interested to see what others have to say and how you get on. OA is joint degeneration - or the horrible phrase of wear and tear, and RA is an autoimmune disorder that causes problems with the synovial fluid between the joints and causes issues with cartilage tendons, ligaments and the joints themselves, basically your body is attacking itself this will then cause the joint damage. Both are horrible.... but then there are so many other types of inflammatory arthritis as well
    Try taking the over the counter pain relief regularly rather than when the pain is bad, I have found that helps more than taking it only when I feel I need it - I like you can't wait to get a proper diagnosis and hopefully some sort of relief - hang on in there x
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,731
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello kazzab123 and welcome to the forum.

    How long will it take to get a diagnosis? How long is a piece of string? There are people on here who have, for years, had a generalised diagnosis of some form of auto-immune arthritis without it ever becoming clear which form they have. If tests for the rheumatoid factor are positive that helps but, if negative, it can be a long time before it becomes clear what the culprit's name is.

    But that doesn't matter too much as the treatment is much the same. If you have an auto-immune form (named or nameless :roll: ) the rheumatologist will treat you with disease modifying meds. If you have OA your GP will treat you with anti-inflammatories and pain relief. Either way, you have arthritis so, if people ask, don't be afraid to tell them. It's an awkward beast. Its intensity varies from day to day but, even when giving you a good day, it's still there, a sleeping giant.

    You may find it easier, while waiting for your rheumatology appointment, to take the anti-inflammatories regularly. Don't rely on over-the-counter stuff: get your GP to prescribe them and a stomach-protecting med to go with them.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • barbara12
    barbara12 Member Posts: 21,281
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hello kazza and a warm welcome form me
    I have OA and saw my first rheumy nearly 4 years ago now.and they said OA has my levels of something or other were midline..so I am tested regular and only recently, in the last few days really I have raised levels again...and on top of other symptoms I have to get another appointment with a rheumy..so it can be really complex some people are diagnose within months but others have so much going on it can take time..
    When you goon your appointment take a list of anything you can think of going back has long as you can..and take a list of questions you might have..good luck and please let us know how you get on
    Love
    Barbara
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Kazza
    I have OA. I don't think the blood tests are definite. You can still have it even if nothing shows {as far as I know}

    As SW says......how long will it take? How long is a piece of string?

    I went to the GP with a "pin in my leg" not even thinking of arthritis.....he kept saying "nothing wrong" until I insisted on a referral to the hospital. I got that, saw an orthopaedic surgeon who sent me for x rays and when I got back to him he looked at them and said "you need 2 new hips" :shock: :shock:
    He then said "speak to me" all I could say was "but ...but...but!!!! :lol:
    So that was quick enough wasn't it
    Not everyone is the same.
    I'm weeks post THR {2nd one} now

    Don't forget make notes before you see him/her......everything you feel, when you feel it etc and all the things you want to ask him. He may cover half of your questions without you needing to ask but I know if I go in without notes I'll come out and think..."Why didn't I ask him that???"

    Love
    Hileena
  • Kazzab123
    Kazzab123 Member Posts: 26
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Thanks for your kind and good advice I agree with it being like a sleeping giant. I am naturally a positive person and apart from the shock of the initial diagnosis I've not been letting it get me down but I've had a bad few days and feel like crying at the minute because I'm fed up of sore achy joints and to be honest I'm feeling sorry for myself.

    I've always hated taking tablets and I suppose I think that taking the Anti inflammatories regularly would be giving in to the arthritis but maybe I should start doing so. If I were to take them now would this be ok? I'm worried about it having an impact on any tests the rheumatologist might do.

    Thanks
    Karen
  • hileena111
    hileena111 Member Posts: 7,099
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    Hi Kazz
    Why don't you check with your GP about taking over the counter ones now or he might prescribe for you while you are waiting for your appointment. It sounds like you need something to keep the pain at bay until you see the rheumy.

    If you take an anti inflammatory regularly you should really take a stomach protector as well.....omneprozol or lansoprozol{I must learn the correct spelling of these :lol: } and if these aren't mentioned ask about them. My GP didn't mention them. It was on this forum I found that out a long time ago. When I mentioned it to him he looked puzzled and said OK.....if you want them :shock:
    Needless to say I'm not with him anymore :wink: I changed GP's

    Love
    Hileena
  • toady
    toady Member Posts: 2,284
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
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    My diagnosis was pretty quick given the visible signs of my rapidly developing ra & combined with blood markers that were a moderately clear sign of trouble. Even though I & a 2nd rheumatologist had some question marks over whether I had lupus-y elements, 'inflammatory arthritis' is more or less the diagnosis they stuck with on account (as I was told) that the meds would be much the same and the strict diagnosis of RA was therefore a slight formality as long as they were in the right area, as near as made no difference. So diagnosis will partly depend on your blood tests, partly on observation & other tests, & how strong an indicator any of those add up to be - I am not sure if you generally get a high ESR with OA (how high is yours?) but someone else can probably give you an insight on that. Hope you can get a clearer picture from your rheumatology assessment.