I'm waiting to see a rheumatologist, my appointment is next week (finally!).
I've done a fair amount of research and feel that my symptoms fit in with RA (sero-negative) but also with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease.
I've had a positive ANA (speckled 1:80) and my knees and fingers are obviously swollen, red, hot, sore and stiff. I have other symptoms like dry eyes, dry mouth, raynaud's, nose ulcers, moderate fatigue. My CRP, Complete Blood Count, Rheumatoid Factor and anti-CCP were normal. My Sed Rate was elevated late last year, but the doctor wont re-test it. I've had these symptoms for 9 months. I haven't had anymore tests done.
What would be the deciding factor between UCTD and seronegative RA?
The deciding factor may very well be x-rays of your hands. The discovery of erosions in the joints is very definitive for Ra. Unlike other forms of arthritis where the inflammation begins in the cartilage, Ra begins in the synovial membranes and that leads to inflammation in the joint and fluid that cause the bones to erode rather than the bone building cycle that starts with other forms of arthritis.
UCTD is an overlapping condition of several autoimmune disorders, usually lupus, plus signs of RA, Sjogren's (the dry eye-mouth-vagina) problem, dermatomyositis, scleroderma, etc in any combination. These patients usually have positive RNP (high titer) antibodies as well as others. Differentiation of lupus and RA ARTHRITIS is the presence of erosions in the joints. RA causes them, lupus does not. Xrays or MRI clarify that. Also, lupus usually doesn't cause joint deformity, RA does.
There is a new lupus test that is more sensitive than the standard ANA. It is called AVISE-SLE, and I would ask for that if there is any doubt after you see the rheumatologist. You are headed in the right direction, and with clarity of diagnosis and then getting on treatment should feel much better, but nothing works overnight, so be patient as you work through the meds and see how you respond.