Viewer Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

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The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

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Comment from: Pal, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 03

II am 53 years old and I have experienced osteoarthritis of the right hip since I was 4 years old. At 37 I had my first total hip replacement. A few months after the surgery a screw came out and banged a hole through my pelvis. By the time I found a doctor who believed that I was experiencing excruciating pain, I had permanently damaged my back and sciatic nerves. I had a successful total hip revision but continue to suffer from sciatic and arthritic pain. 2 years ago I began experiencing pain, swelling and heat in my left foot that was diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. 8 months ago I began to experience chronic fatigue. The fatigue was accompanied by swelling at my lower back and joint pain in joints where I had not experienced pain before (elbows, fingers, knees, etc.). I felt as though I had the flu all the time with my joints literally radiating heat. I was no longer able to walk my dogs, swim or do Pilates. At first I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia so I found an acupuncturist who continues to help me with my energy level and pain. 6 weeks ago I was diagnosed with RA. I am currently taking 8 mg of methaltrexate once weekly, extra strength ibuprophen (when I can't stand the pain) and elavil before bed to help me stay asleep. The degree of pain varies from day to day. I am now able to do some Pilates again and I am aquasising twice a week. I remain working full time in hopes of retiring in 6.5 years.

Published: August 27

I had been sick from Bronchitis. I complained about feeling "stiff" in my shoulders. They told me it was from coughing. I started having problems walking, my hips hurt. I thought it was because I stopped going to the gym due to the bronchitis. Within a week, I couldn't lift my shoulders off the bed in the morning then to not being able to even pull the blankets up to cover up because my hands hurt so bad. Within two weeks my hands, wrists, hips and feet were in so much pain. Currently I am being managed with Plaquenil and Methotrexate and Prednisone. I have full mobility but tinges of pain every now and then.

Published: August 27

I was an active, healthy male. I was diagnosed with RA at age 44 (9 months after a minor motorcycle accident that injured my left wrist). My symptoms began with a general feeling of fatigue and malaise. Then a few months later, morning numbness in the fronts of both feet that lasted for a few hours. I saw a podiatrist and was mis-diagnosed with "Morton's Neuroma". As my symptoms progressed, I had sharp shoulder, wrist and elbow pains during the night. Then, a gradual stiffening of my right, pinky finger; followed by stiff, sore and swollen fore and index fingers predominately on my right hand, but also on the left. I was diagnosed with RA and Hypo-thyroid initially. After taking "Thyroxin" for about 4 weeks, I began taking "Hydroxychloroquine" and "Naproxen". My thyroid corrected and I stopped taking Thyroxin. My RA symptoms persisted with primarily sore, stiff hands in the mornings (3-4 hrs), sore ankles, a swollen elbow and muscle fatigue. After about 4 months, we added "Methotrexate" for 3 months with some success (no more swollen elbow or sharp shoulder pains and less sore hands), however, my liver enzyme count became elevated too high. I've now (5 months) been taking "Sulfasalazine" (3 grams/day) with "Hydroxychloroquine" (400 mg/day) and am having much less swelling in my hands and ankles now. Some days are better than others. I have much less energy than I used to. I stopped working (6 months after my diagnosis) because the medicine didn't eliminate the pain, fatigue and swelling; and I could no longer move heavy objects without possibly causing permanent damage to my joints. I was approved for Social Security Disability benefits immediately (after initial 6 month waiting period). I'm hopeful that my symptoms will go away one day or at least be controlled with medication.

Comment from: Karmel, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 26

I have inherited rheumatoid arthritis. I started showing signs when I was 26 years old. Prednisolone is the only thing working for me at moment as well as a supplement SAMe methionine (a bit) but still my Rh factor is still 1065 and my CRP is 68.

Comment from: Em, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 14

I have been on Methotrexate since I was diagnosed 13 years ago. I also take folic acid and do water aerobics three times a week. I find keeping active helps with joint stiffness and pain. My husband and I hiked and go for long walks. Eating healthy and keeping active has helped me.

Comment from: Thelaw154, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 06

I was told I had RA 6 weeks ago but have had symptoms for four months. I thought I may have jammed or sprained my forefinger due to pain and swelling. I babied it for a week and then the same thing happened on my other hand. I knew then that something was obviously wrong. Every finger in both hands are now affected and both feet. I recently lost 45 pounds because I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. Ha, the joke was on me. I had more energy, then the RA hit me like a ton of bricks. I am scared to take the meds that are out there. In am taking a less aggressive med called Plaquenil. I am wondering if I should change my mind.


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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA):

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Treatment

What was the treatment for your rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis - Medications

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Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) - Diet

Have you made dietary changes that have improved your RA symptoms and signs? If so, please describe these changes.

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