Barking up the wrong tree?!

Eatinganapple Member Posts: 3
edited 20. Nov 2018, 06:20 in Say Hello Archive
Morning all,

Brand new here, a little confused and wondered whether anyone could help me...

I’ve been having problem with swollen joints in my hands and wrists for a little while now but has got significantly worse since the weather turned this autumn. I’m in my 30s but have family history of RA and fairly textbook symptoms. I went to my GP- who was very helpful and ordered a lot of bloods including rheumatoid factor and anti ccp. All came back negative.

I saw him again last week and he’s ordered some xrays and suggested that once he’s seen those he refer me to a rheumatologist. Problem is in our area the wait time is approx 6 months and so until then I’d be continuing as I am which isn’t a great prospect- I’m massively exhausted but a working Mum with 2 children and a busy life so that’s not a surprise. I’m at the point where I’m struggling at work- I work 3 days a week and have to write a lot which is making the pain worse so am having to take regular ibruprofen every day.

So I guess what I’m wondering is with the negative blood tests how likely is it I’m barking up the wrong tree with a RA diagnosis? I’ve read a negative test doesn’t necessarily mean not having it but how commonly does that actually happen in real life? Because I’d rather not be hanging on for 6 months to be told it’s so unlikely i need to see someone else!



  • [Deleted User]
    [Deleted User] Posts: 3,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Eatinganapple and welcome to the Versus Arthritis Forums.

    I'm sorry to hear you are having pain in your wrists and hands. You may like to try using a wrist splint to help rest the affected joints.

    I'm sure the forum members will comment with their own personal experiences regarding the rest of your post, including the use of pain killers like ibuprofen.

    Do keep posting to let us know how you get on.

    Best wishes
  • daffy2
    daffy2 Member Posts: 1,636
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It can be a little quiet at the weekend so I thought I'd just say Hi there and welcome. Short answer to your question is no you're not necessarily barking up the wrong tree, and in fact credit to your GP for considering the possibility of a sero-negative form - too many assume once blood tests come back clear that there's no need to investigate further.
    I don't have RA but plenty on here do so you'll get more informed replies in due course.
    That's a long wait it seems even by current beleaguered NHS standards
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, I have a sero-negative form of auto-immune arthritis, many on here do. Until they are affected people assume that arthritis comes in two kinds, osteo and rheumatoid (and of course only old people get it) but is not as simple as that (and any age can be affected). The auto-immune types can be sero-positive (rheumatoid factor is present in the blood) or sero-negative (it isn't).

    Thanks to GPs being much better informed than they used to be more and more people are being referred to rheumatology, hence the wait. When you are seen there will be more waiting as further tests are done (possibly to rule things out rather than in) and then more waiting as meds are sorted etc. Arthritis is a disease that demands patience from its patients. I was born with auto-immune nonsense so for me this is just more of the same but it can just as easily begin out-of-the-blue.

    I began aged 37 and am now 59 so I know my arthritic onions. I have also developed OA so I know them onions too. What a lucky girl am I. :lol: DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,098
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I don't think you're barking up the wrong tree. In fact I think you're very lucky that your GP is so on the ball. Many come on here thinking they can't have RA, or any other autoimmune form of arthritis, because the test came back negative and their GP seemed to believe that was that.

    I can't give you numbers or percentages but all I can say is that a positive test doesn't necessarily mean someone has RA and a negative one doesn't necessarily mean they haven't. There are some autoimmune forms of arthritis which (i think) always give a negative result. PsA and AS) but while RA usually gives a positive result it can sometimes be negative too.

    I can see where you're coming from re waiting and wondering - and hurting. It possible that your GP might be able to push you higher up the list by saying you're an urgent case. As you have young children and a difficult job, he might. You could also ring the consultant's secretary and say you could take a cancellation (if your job would allow this). Also, by law, your boss must make 'reasonable adjustments' for you at work - a chair, voice-based software etc. It's tough. I had RA when my sons were young and I couldn't have considered working.
  • Eatinganapple
    Eatinganapple Member Posts: 3
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you all for taking the time to reply- it has been reassuring to read your replies and lovely to hear that my GP seems to be a winner :-)

    Unfortunately there aren’t many adjustments that can be made to my job- I work in a clinical role in the NHS where we still use paper records and so by law (and by professional conduct) I need to be able to document my assessments and I’m not sure how I could achieve that without writing in the setting I work in. Which adds a whole other potential kettle of fish should I get a diagnosis of something but will cross that bridge when I come to it.

    I will keep you updated but so very grateful for such a warm welcome 😊
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,098
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Even if you're stuck with biros there are still devices to help. Berol make thicker then usual pens and there are loads of things about to make ordinary pens / biros / pencils thicker and so much less strain on the hands. Have a look here.

Who's Online

+6 Guests