Thread: Rheumatoid Arthritis What to do!?!?
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Old 11-17-2012, 12:07 PM   #4
achyFL achyFL is offline
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Re: What to do!?!?

Pollyanna,

I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to advocate for yourself and push for answers. Based on your age when your symptoms developed, it may be JRA (or JIA as doctors now call it). If it is JRA, it is different than RA even though many symptoms are similar, and some of the treatments are as well. I was diagnosed with JRA 45 years ago at the age of 10. I was treated with anti-inflammatories for a couple of years and then not treated for it anymore by my family's GP. In my 20's, I started having pain and stiffness again. I saw numerous doctors and even went to the ER once since my shoulder pain was so bad.

I was told over and over again that RF test was negative, and all I needed to do was lose weight. I really didn't see how that would help my shoulder pain, but hey, they were the doctors. Finally,, in my 30's, I found a rheumatologist. She explained that the Rheumatoid Factor test was usually negative in JRA. She took X-rays of my shoulders and hips, and later told me she was beside herself when she saw that the joints were pretty much destroyed. I had both hips replaced at age 33, and 1 shoulder replaced at age 46. I have recently had to have 1 hip re-done, and will need the other re-done soon as well. These are major surgeries. My elbows are pretty well fried also, and are painful and cannot straighten.

The good news is, there are many more treatments available today and many of them are effective in preventing the kind of joint damage I was left with. It's very important that you push for answers, and be sure to tell them your symptoms started at 14. I wish you the best, but please make sure you get appropriate treatment.

 
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