Viewer Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

Patient Comments & Reviews

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: Julie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 03

I was diagnosed 4 weeks ago with RA. I haven't seen a specialist yet. I'm 55, white, female. I had RA symptoms for a while, but I didn't know anything about the disease. In June of this year, I experienced chest pains on my right side and was hospitalized for 3 days. All testing came back negative for heart issues. I was diagnosed with pleurisy and told to exercise more. I was so tired and seemed anxious about everything, afraid I would forget things. My feet kept getting more and more painful, but I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis in 2006, and just thought it was affecting my feet. I have a high tolerance for pain and tend to shrug things off. I'm also not a "pill taker." I got to the point I could barely walk and noticed swelling in my feet too. Then I woke up one morning with my right thumb nearly doubled the other in size and felt like it was broken. Then the next day my right shoulder felt like it was dislocated. And finally the following day, I couldn't lift my right leg. So I went to a local doctor and he did the blood work and said I need to see a RA Specialist, that I have RA. I've been depressed about it and don't know anyone in my ancestry that had it. I never even knew it was an autoimmune disease. I'm having problems getting to a specialist for months, because they are booked up.

Comment from: HipHopJournalistLuvr, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: September 22

My boyfriend was born with RA. It has affected his hips (he had full replacements about 5 years ago), his feet, knees, hands, neck, wrist and fingers. I can't imagine the pain one feels. I just want to know how I can help make him more comfortable. A week ago he could barely walk. The good thing is that he doesn't let the RA beat him. He is a fighter and strives to keep going even when his body really can't. Will it be smart to do massage therapy? I have been thinking about going to school to get licensed specifically to help him with the RA. I keep you all in my prayers. May God heal such pain and a cure be discovered.

Comment from: Heather, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: December 06

My symptoms were very sudden - have always been very healthy, then woke one day with incredibly painful shoulder (about 3.5 months ago) that lasted about 2 days. Thought I had overexerted myself gardening! Then a week later I woke with really painful, swollen knee which lasted a couple of days! A week after that it was my wrist. Then the following week each day was a different joint moving from hands, wrists to jaw! Went to the doctor who immediately did a blood test. Came back positive for anti DsDNA (specific for lupus) but negative on RF. Referred me to a rheumatologist who said my symptoms sounded more like RA and tested me for anti CCP - that came back positive! So I have an overlap of the 2 diseases! First couple of weeks, on anti-inflammatory and hydroxychloroquine there wasn't much relief but after anti-CCP came back positive methotrexate was added. Now on 17.5mg a week and have to say that last week I was even wondering if they were wrong as it all seemed too easy! However today I do have painful feet just to remind me they weren't wrong! It does seem to have been easy as doctors have all been great and I've been lucky all meds have agreed with me and methotrexate reduced symptoms quickly!

Comment from: Sorda Goormay, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: August 11

I am currently 64 years old and was diagnosed with RA 3 weeks ago. I have been telling doctors the symptoms of RA for 10 my ears but was consistently told that I had gout [in spite of the fact that there was no elevation of ureic acid in my blood]. I've since discovered that RA is often misdiagnosed as gout. 2 years ago, I had a huge flare. Both feet swelled to the extent that I couldn't walk on them. My hands were so swollen that I couldn't hold a knife or fork. The pain was something far beyond anything I had ever experienced. The doctor gave me a pain pill. Luckily, a nurse friend told me that prednisone was the protocol approach to my problem. The drug chased the symptoms in about five days but the situation changed. Every morning I awoke with pain in two joints that were different than the joints that were in pain the day before. It was at this point that I saw my first rheumatologist. He told me, confidently, that I had a massive gout attack [in spite of all the testing to the contrary], The next specialist said that I didn't have gout but he didn't know what it was. Now that I have researched the symptoms of RA, I realize that I have been telling doctors the textbook symptoms for many years. I am currently taking folic acid and methatrexate. I couldn't handle the prescribed anti-inflammatory so I quit it on my own. I am applying for medical marijuana for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

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.


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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

What medications have been effective at treating your rheumatoid arthritis?

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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