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Old 02-22-2012, 11:31 AM   #1
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HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

Hello,

I am a 29 Year old Female and am showing most of the classic symptoms of RA. Since it is quite difficult to diagnose, I am starting to question if I have RA, or another disease. Please read my story.

About 2 months ago I woke up one morning and my hands, and feet were bright red, Warm to the touch, and swollen like crazy. There was no pain, just stiffness. I assumed that due to the cold weather my eczema was about to flare up.

Within days, I started to notice that i was developing small, hard, peas sized, flesh colored bumps underneath the joint of a toe on one foot, then the next day my other foot would mimic the bump until both of my feet had identical bumps on each joint. It was pretty concerning, and had no idea what it could be.
Within a few days, while trying to sleep i felt pins and needles ( my hands and feet felt like they were falling asleep). Not even a day after that the pain set it..first they would be achy , then very sharp pains ( a stabbing sensation). The symptoms continued to get worse for about a week. The pain began to spread to my ankles, wrist, arms, legs, and knees. I hurt so bad i was almost in tears. I went to my PCP, and he believed it to be a possible form of Arthritis. He put me on Prednisone (50 mgs.. 2 pills per day..for 6 days) i had a blood test done for crp and esr.

The prednisone instantly took the pain away but never cleared up my inflammation in the slightest. The test results showed both test to come back normal. The dr. said that I was fine and didnít have arthritis.. within days of coming off of the prednisone my symptoms came back and the pain was twice as bad. I started getting really bad headaches, and my vision started to change. while driving during the day I started seeing tons of floaters in my vision, and while driving at night I was seeing tons of purple flashes of light.

Everything is getting worse. My Doctor has now called me in a prescription of Naproxen. I am about to start taking them to see if this clears up the inflammation and pain. I have done a lot of reading on RA since this whole thing started 2 months ago...It is making me feel crazy..the DR said i donít have it but I know something is not right with my body, and I have all of the classic symptoms of the disease. I do not know what to do. What does it sound like? I'm desperate for advice...

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 12:55 PM   #2
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Re: HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

I have RA and this doesn't sound at all like RA to me.

Yes, the joint pain can hit hard and fast but not that fast and the flesh colored bumps you describe are not RA nodules...they take months and years to form, not days. And the spread of the pain to so many joints so fast is not what Ra does...it spreads with flares of the main symptoms, 2 by 2, each side at the same time. The headaches and eye problems are not what Ra does either.

And the ESR and CRP would definitely be elevated considerably if it were RA....that is a definite.

Many types of infections can set off an inflammatory reaction in the body that causes what you are describing. I had it when I was a teen after strep throat. The bacteria/virus(even a cold virus) can release a toxin into the blood stream. This toxin causes the body to release all sorts of proteins called cytokines and it's those cytokines that make the joints hurt so badly. But it generally resolves itself after a period of time...can last up to a year. But drugs like Naproxen and prednisone can be of great help.

I suspect you doc is thinking this is that post-infection type of reaction. We've had several people here with this same exact thing. And it did go away for them. Some never even knew they were sick, the virus was so mild.

The speed with which this happened along with the negative blood work says it is not RA very loudly. Ra sneaks up on your slowly and those 2 particular blood tests are always positive...100% of the time.

I'd say that good news.

Jenny

Jenny

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:46 PM   #3
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Re: HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

I have read that in rheumatoid arthristis there are cases where the esr and crp are normal, particularly during the earliest stages. I do also know that in certain people the reason is to be due to an insensitivity or low
low level of a triggering mechanism that normally stimulates the liver to produce the inflammatory proteins necessary for ESR and CRP testing. Not to mention all of the seronegatives out there. Has ANYONE experiences any of these symptoms?

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:59 PM   #4
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Re: HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

Let me explain what exactly sero-negative means...I have sero-negative RA.

Sero-negative refers to not having any of the specific tests for RA positive such as the Rheumatoid Factor and the Anti-CCP.

BUT, in sero-negative RA...the sed rate(ESR) will be up..that goes up just from stress alone let alone an illness and is extremely sensitive but totally unproductive in that it doesn't tell you what or where is causing the inflammation. A sed rate below 25 is never seen in RA, and will even go up before you feel symptoms. Most are up around 50+.

The CRP (C-reactive protein) is a more sensitive marker for inflammation that will go up but later. My sed rate went up years prior to diagnosis and the CRP only went up 2 years prior.

But others things also go up and down. RA causes anemia and a steady fall in hemotocrit and hemoglobin will occur from very early on...in me it was down for a good year prior to diagnosis.

And the white blood cell count goes up, steadily. I hover around 12,000 now but it was a steady climb from about 8,000 upward, slowly but surely and again, it started a good year prior to diagnosis.

I've talked with several rheumies about the sero-negative situation and they assure me that this is the profile they look for in sero-negative Ra when the RF and anti-CCP are negative. this blood profile of the high ESR and CRP along with anemia and raised WBC's tells them it's possibly RA in the absence of the RF and Anti-CCP. However, an MRI of an affected joint has now become as good as blood work in identifying RA. The cardinal sign of RA is an inflamed synovial lining of the joint. RA is the only one of the arthritides that features inflammation of the synovial membrane. maybe your doc could order that on one of the worst affected joints to see for sure if it's Ra.

But the biggest factor for anyone with RA you never even mentioned...fatigue. It has a fatigue that is extremely characteristic of Ra. You feel so tired that just the act of getting up in the morning is enough to make you need a nap. It is overwhelming and severe. You feel like you've been laid low with the worst case of the flu you've ever had and it just doesn't go away. You literally can't get out of bed. Ask anyone here with Ra about the fatigue. I know that until treatment began, I was sleeping at least 16-18 hours a day...easy.

I hope I am right and you don't have it. It's one nasty disease.

Jenny

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:29 PM   #5
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Re: HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

The only test done was to check the crp and esr level. I am not sure why he did not do the rf or even possibly the ana to check for lupus. I hope that I do not have it either..I have heard it can be awful. I do have fatigue quite often, and not even a whole pot of coffee can get me going, or even out of my pj's... I just always assumed that it was associated with my seasonal allergies. I just really cant find any other explination of the symptoms that I am having. What are the visual effects that arthritis has on the affected area?

 
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Old 02-22-2012, 06:35 PM   #6
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Re: HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

Since this whole thing started the joints in my feet are so red and swollen, my fingers look awful..my knuckels are so big that i am not able to fit my rings on them..they are beat red ..and they really hurt..on ocassion my arms and other joints will start to hurt on and off. Does this sound like possibly another auto immune disease?

 
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:08 PM   #7
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Re: HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

There are approx. 100 different types of arthritis. You really should see a rheumatologist to get a thorough testing for what it could be. Red joints screams that something is wrong but what is the question. It could be any number of things and with the eye problems you are having and the lack of positive blood work, they should probably look at a group of disorders called the sero-negative sponyloarthropathies.....a group of arthritic disorders that feature no positive blood work but major arthritis of the joints and spine and they affect the eyes. Among the group is Ankylosing Spondylitis, Reactive Arthritis and Psoriatic Arthritis.

Unless your insurance plan requires a referral, you can find them in the phone book under Arthritis docs or Rheumatologist and make an appointment. If they require a referral, ask your doc to send you as you need answers. He may not think you need it but ask him to humor you. Frankly, most primary care docs know little if anything about arthritis.

I still don't think it's RA but there are so many types, many of the docs don't know until they watched you for a year or 2....and then they can add stuff on top. I have Sjogren's on top of the Ra and it's hard to tell them apart at times. Sjogren's also has eye problems but it's severe dry eyes with an arthritis that looks like OA on x-rays but looks like Ra on the surface.

Many of these disorders look alike but finding the right drug, means finding the right disease first. Lupus drugs don't work for Ra and Ra drugs don't work for Sjogrens. Some Ra drugs work for Ankylosing Spondylitis and Psoriatic Arthritis but not Reactive Arthritis...which is showing great signs of being "curable" with antibiotics. And nothing works for OA.

Talk about confusing...why you should always ask to see a rheumatologist...primary docs just don't "get it".

Jenny

 
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Old 03-25-2012, 03:12 PM   #8
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Re: HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

Nicolet

I have to agree with Jenny. I am RA sufferer for many years and learned quiet a lot about this disease and how does it affects our system.
I think she explained to you very well, I dont have much to add to it, but only one thing I have to tell you: your symptoms don't come from nothing.
If you hurt - your body tells you something. I am so sorry that you at such young age experience what you experience now.
If this really bothers you, if you know something is really wrong, make sure you see a specialist to see what really is happening to you.
I think to see Infection disease Dr would be a great idea.

Having RA since very young age for me taught me a lot how RA manifests: how it starts, what symptoms we get and when and so much more.
I dont believe your symptoms relate to RA, but you definitely have some type of inflammation (acute one). There are so many different conditions out there, you need a good DR to diagnose yours right.

Best of luck to you
Moldova

 
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Old 04-09-2012, 08:10 AM   #9
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Re: HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

I am assuming your body is toxic and is showing reactions to those toxins. You can not correct or cure a toxic situation by adding more toxins to an already toxic body that needs housecleaning. Your doctor seems to be in the dark on this and if I were you I would start cleansing the body and cleansing the liver. There are all kinds of ways to do that posted on the web.

 
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Old 05-06-2012, 06:52 PM   #10
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Re: HELP, please! Do I have RA, or something else?

I was seeing funny colos too. At first ignored it. It is not easy to tell anyone that what is normally bright orange is now bright green. When it did it again a half an hour later I told my husband. You could imagine the responce, right? It did it again about a week later, but so briefly I wasn't sure. I have had significant eye irritation and this is by far not as bad as the pain and circulation problems so as freaky as it seems I just overlook it.

Last edited by mjd123; 05-06-2012 at 06:54 PM.

 
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