Have new diagnoses of RA risen during covid?

Just a suspicion based on a lot of comments on VA website, but has there been an uplift on the number of RA diagnosis during the pandemic ie beyond what happens every year? Could covid have triggered it? Do VA stats on 2020-2021 diagnosis show a statistically significant increase from the norm?


  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 423

    @Arthuritis I've also wondered if my PsA was caused by Covid. A number of the rheumatology staff I've seen have said that PsA can be brought on by a virus. There was a patient in Italy where the medics were so sure her PsA was a direct result of her contracting Covid they wrote a medical paper about it.

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 313

    @jamieA Very interesting. Reminds me of my analogy of the immune system and a Swiss watch. Highly complicated, and getting sand in the works will make it behave erratically, requiring an expert watchmaker to fix it. Not a hammer.

    Although a more accurate analogy would be like an army whose generals are misinformed, falsely directing young inexperienced soldier cells (T-Eff) to go kill cells wearing foreign looking clothes, and not enough wiser adults (T-Reg) to supervise/redirect these inexperienced and misinformed T soldier cells rampaging through your body.

    Slowing the production of new soldiers (MTX) leaves you exposed, as do profitable biologics that prevent the soldiers going into action against anything, including tumours, and little scientific research being made to re-educate the misinformed immune system generals so that might stop leading soldiers to civil war.

  • AndyT
    AndyT Member Posts: 46

    I first saw a Rheumatologist in August last year, for sudden finger swelling & Raynaud's type symptoms.

    He did suspect Covid could be involved, he remarked that he had seen a large increase of referrals for hand issues since Covid appeared. He sent me for a Covid antibodies test, but I recently found out my test was not processed by the labs due to 'capacity issues'.

  • Arthuritis
    Arthuritis Member Posts: 313

    @AndyT The antibodies to covid would still be there, detectable by NHS (Roche nuclear antibody test), which should be more available now that pressure’s reduced. I took that test privately last july and it is very precise and differentiates between vaccinated antibodies and infection antibodies. You have to use the NHS selected brand, as privately there are others offered which are a complete waste of money 2 weeks after symptoms.

    I had the same thing, initially painful feet in the morning or after rest from April to July, then all of a sudden in October right finger swollen and unbendable. That prompted me to urgently seek a rheumy even if i used up my savings on it.

    I know there were clinical reports of people getting type 1 diabetes all of a sudden after covid, and i was being tested for hashimoto’s in March after covid, so my *suspicion* is covid has a higher propensity to trigger autoimmune disease than other pathogens.