Confused By Test Results And Symptoms - RA?? Fibromyalgia, Old Age & Fibromyalgia?
This is my first post here, but I need some input aside from my trusted GP of 26 years who is very good, but we are in a "wait and see" mode, so I am anxious of course. Forgive the "history," but I think it is needed for people to give an accurate opinion.
I am a 62 y.o. male who has had fibromyalgia diagnosed since about 1994, and I am sure something was starting up before that for many years. Of course back then it was not well known.
I have, and am used to mild to moderate aches and pains (depends on weather, stress levels, etc.) and the other things associated with FMS. I have good days and bad days of course. Recently (past 2-3 months) my right shoulder "AC joint" has been sore to pressure and a little swollen for no apparent reason. I showed my chiropractor and he said it could be due to many things and he sees a lot of it. My GP agreed, and said if there was actual pain without pressing on it we could investigate ways to reduce the imflamation and swelling - otherwise, not a big deal. Ice it and give it some time. I get a "CBC" monthly to check my platelet levels and we also check sed rare and CRP, electrolytes and 2-3 other tests to check for any auto immune things starting up every about 3-4 months. Fibromyalgia CAN lead to other auto-immune diseases, my docs have said, and I have read many places, so my doc just wants to monitor things.
This week I went in for a check up and the more complete lab tests. Today he called me and said for the first time he can recall my RH Factor was elevated at 36 (his labs normal is 25 or less) and ESR/Sed Rate was 30. ANA was negative as was double stranded DNA. CRP was <.5 which is normal with his labs. All else in CBC was normal also. Sed rate at 30 is no big deal. I've had that before when I had the flu or a bad sore throat. I asked what he thought. He said negative ANA and also negative CRP were good signs and unless I had more aching or swelling in my joints other than the one right shoulder, he was not too worried. He said most of his RA patients have sed rates over 50 and usually CRP will be up also. He also said with no other "clinical" symptoms, like pain and stiffness on one or both sides in hands or other joints, it just doesn't sound like RA at this point. Next time I go in (4 weeks) he'll X-Ray my hands and wrists, because they often show changes that can't be seen that would possibly indicate RA had been going on at some level for awhile. I have no morning stiffness of any kind these days, but that's OK, being a divorced old bachelor. I have the aching from the fibromyalgia, which I can control with meditation, OTC pain pills and a few other holistic home treatment things. I am lucky it seems to have calmed down in the past 3-4 years with occasional flares.
My mother had dermatomyositis, which gives me a little more chance of an auto immune system disease - and I have the fibromyalgia and also the idiopathic thrombocytopenia, which both are loosely or more largely considered to be diseases of the immune system, depending on who you ask or what you read.
So now I wait. I would be lying if I said I was not abit upset about the elevated RH value, but I think probably synovitis in the shoulder could cause that to be elevated and I have read even fibromyalgia and other non serious things like just being older can cause a slightly elevated RH value. The sed rate doesn't bother me. When it's been elevated before it has always gone back to normal.
Any suggestions or input appreciated. When I read some of your stories and symptoms and diagnoses I feel like I am being a wimp and whiny. That's probably the anxiety disorder part of me kicking in. Anyhow, if anyone with RA or who knows what their sed rate and RH values are when they have been diagnosed with RA I'd be curious to know. I have Googled for it and can't find anything really.
I appreciate boards like these for the honesty and support you people give each other. I have a lot of time on my hands, and I try to be supportive of those on the forums where people have fibromyalgia or other things like I have had for so long. I have Dry Eye Syndrome also, but all tests for Sjogren's have been negative. In advance, thanks for any input. I was here last at least a year ago, but plan to come back and add anything to help others and also perhaps myself, depending on what shows up in the future...
Re: Confused By Test Results And Symptoms - RA?? Fibromyalgia, Old Age & Fibromyalgia
Hi, Denny. I just read this---sorry so late---and wanted to say "Hi & welcome!"
How are you doing? Did you have those X-rays done, or see any changes in your symptoms and test results?
I can understand your concern about autoimmunity. I'm just a patient, of course, but I do know there's a set of diagnostic criteria for RA---I think 6---of which one generally must meet a certain #; and embedded are some complex "either/or" and time element requirements. Have you seen them? (Hopefully you'll NOT see yourself.)
I can sort of appreciate your GP's comment about symmetrical vs. one-sided pain. My husband's bursitis affects only his serving shoulder (tennis), while mine is symmetrical and in multiple locations (lupus). Another thought: if you take any meds, can any affect tear production? And as you say, age could also be a factor (no offense intended, I'm definitely in your bracket!). Hope this finds you feeling better, or at least no worse. With my best wishes, Vee