New here!

Helen53 Member Posts: 2
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:06 in Living with arthritis

Hi, just wanted to introduce myself and say hello.

Im a frontline NHS worker and I caught COVID back in April last yr and subsequently long COVID. I’ve had 2 failed attempts at a phased return to work and despite having numerous tests through out the year nothing showed up. Then 2 weeks ago I started again with terrible fatigue again and joint aches along with brain fog and numerous other problems. This time blood work showed a positive RF of 147iu/mL which then prompted an urgent referral to rheumatology by my GP. She says anything above 30 is high, but online it says anything above 14?

Im feeling confused and not really sure what this means! I have developed small lumps on my thumb joints and the first joints on my index fingers. My hands, wrists, elbows , knees and feet are painful and hands sometimes swollen. The base of my neck is also painful.

Could COVID trigger RA? Could this be reactive? Has anyone else had a similar experience after a virus. Any advise and sharing of experiences would be most welcome. Thank you in advance for reading. 😊


  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992


    did a quick Google search and according to the Lancet = Viral infections are a known cause of acute arthralgia and arthritis ........ Ambient respiratory viral infections have been associated with an increased number of cases of rheumatoid arthritis (especially in women and older patients), suggesting that respiratory viral infections might be an environmental risk factor for the development of rheumatoid arthritis ......... Therefore, it is conceivable that patients with COVID-19 might display symptoms and signs of inflammation, such as a viral arthritis.6 Thus, from the point of view of a rheumatologist, evaluating the role of SARS-CoV-2 in inflammatory arthritis is essential for diagnosis.

    Not that it helps but it may provide a point of reference to chat to your GP. Good luck.

  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 991

    Hi @Helen53 and welcome to the online community,

    You've certainly had a very challenging time from last April when you caught COVID and have been unable to return to work. Your recent blood work showed a positive rheumatoid factor and you've now been referred to rheumatology. It's understandable that you should wonder if COVID has triggered RA.

    However, blood work that indicates a high RF factor doesn't necessarily mean that you have RA, since it can be raised by other illnesses, including a virus such as COVID. Your rheumatology consultant will want you to undertake other blood tests and possibly scans, before making a diagnosis. Additionally, COVID is a relatively unknown virus and scientists are only just beginning to work out what its symptoms are and what other illnesses it can trigger.

    Many of our members have experienced RA and COVID, separately and together, and I'm sure will be happy to share their experiences with you. Naturally, everyone's experience is different, and you'll only know your diagnosis for sure after your appointments with your rheumatology team.

    Meanwhile, you might be interested to read the Versus Arthritis page on COVID that you might find useful.

    All the best, and I look forward to reading how you're getting on.

    Anna (mod) : )

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm