Eowyn Member Posts: 4

Hi everyone,

I am 41 and I live in Fife, Scotland.

After a couple of months of having stiff hands and a couple of weeks of worsening symptoms (red, swollen finger joints, and pain and stiffness in the fingers and wrists), I contacted my GP. A phone appointment followed by a face to face appointment and I was told I very likely have rheumatoid arthritis. Bloods were taken this morning and x-rays will follow whenever possible (Covid is slowing things down).

So I am now trying to find out more about his illness and the best ways to deal with it. I've had ME and Hashimoto's disease for 10 years so I'm not new to chronic illnesses or pain, but I am new to not being able to use my hands in the usual way...


  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Member Posts: 548

    Hi @Eowyn - welcome to the online community!

    After your hands and wrists getting worse you've been told you probably have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and you're awaiting results of blood tests and X-rays to be scheduled.

    Sounds like your doctor is on the ball so far, which is great. There's lots of good information available - I've linked a couple of pages below. Rheumatoid Arthritis will show up in your blood test - the fact that your joints are swollen and inflamed points more towards RA. You can do things to help yourself while waiting - heat can help stiffness, and if you can exercise and stretching will help long term with pain and mobility.

    The link about Hand a Wrist pain has specific advice and exercises which can help.

    There are a lot of people on the forum in similar situations to yours - sometimes it's nice to chat and feel able to have a moan or just discuss difficulties with people who understand. Do have a look around and join in any discussions which interest you.

    Lovely to meet you!


  • "Rheumatoid Arthritis will show up in your blood test"

    Mine didn't. No inflammation markers/ESR normal... everything normal with the bloods. They said I was sero-negative. I'm special 🤣

    Only Ultrasound showed something, which was the swelling we could see from the outside (mostly certain fingers at the time) caused by buildup of synovial fluid.

  • Shell_H
    Shell_H Member Posts: 548

    Hi @SausageFingers - you're right, seronegative rheumatoid arthritis doesn't show up in blood tests - but it's less common to have this 😊 The blood test is often a way of telling the difference between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Osteoarthritis - RA is more likely to have swelling, but OA can have swelling during bad flare ups. So a blood test is normally more useful. It's why the doctors do the blood test.

  • Eowyn
    Eowyn Member Posts: 4

    Thank you everyone for the information and your comments.

    I will have a wee look at the forum over the next few days and make sure I write down any questions I may have for the GP when the blood tests come back.

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,312

    Hi @Eowyn

    Good to meet you!

    I must add that there are other forms of inflammatory arthritis which do not give a positive rheumatoid factor including Palindromic Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis. Symptoms, Pains stiffness and swelling, and treatments are often very similar. Pain is pain we all understand.

    Do have a good read and look around we are a helpful group of people with loads of experience between us.

    Take care!

  • Eowyn
    Eowyn Member Posts: 4

    I phoned the practice this morning and nothing showed in my blood tests... I have a phone follow up appointment with a GP tomorrow. I don't know what to think now. Two GPs and a medical student all said it was most certainly RA but if the bloods are negative, I'm not sure what is going to happen now.

  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,258


    Your GP will have an idea of what next. Remember there are other forms of inflammatory Arthitides which are Rheumatoid Factor Negative so it doesn't mean your GP will give up on helping you.

    Have you read this yet? https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/treatments/the-inflammatory-arthritis-pathway/

    Hopefully you will be referred for further investigations. Do let us know how you get on.

    Best wishes


  • Lucinda
    Lucinda Member Posts: 4

    Hi there

    Can you tell me how you posted a new feed on a forum? I want to introduce myself and despite reading everything going, I can't find how to do that.

    Many thanks

    Lu x

  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 731

    Hi @Lucinda and welcome to the online community!

    To post a new discussion on the forum, look on the top right hand side column and choose which forum you'd like to post on (it seems like Say Hello might be the most appropriate!) Then press on New Discussion (in the yellow box on the top left hand side of the screen) and a new discussion box should open up.

    Once you've written your intro, press Post Comment (in the yellow box at the bottom of the page). There'll be a short wait while the post goes through moderation, then you'll see it in Recent Posts.

    I look forward to reading your introduction and welcoming you into the online community!

    Anna (Moderator) : )

  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 28,312

    Hi @Lucinda hope you can post a thread now.

    @Eowyn how did you get on with your GP? I hope you are having further tests or been referred?