View Full Version : Rheumatoid Arthritis?

04-03-2007, 01:27 AM
I know there are alot of Intercotee in the medical field - maybe someone can give me some info.
My mom was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 65. Always being very active and in excellent health, this was quite a blow - and a real tough year or so until she got the pain under control. I'm happy to say that she is probably 80 - 90% back to normal, and is not letting it stop her.
My mom's younger brother was diagnosed last year. Obviously heredity is a factor.
I'm really not a paranoid person - but now everytime I get stiff & sore, I think about it. I know there is nothing I can do to prevent it, if it is going to happen, but is there is way to test/check for it before any symptoms would occurr? I don't know much about this disease other than it can be debilitating. I know my mom's is controlled by medication, but is that just temporary?? Or can she expect to live like she is now as long as she continues treatement?
Too many questions - and searches on the internet seem to always give the worse case scenario. Help?

04-03-2007, 01:55 AM
Hi! I don't know too much about rhematoid arthritis, but I have been to a rheumatologist to rule it out and can offer you what little I do know. As far as your mom, no, her condition would not be temporary - RA is a permanent condition, and can be controlled through diet, excercise and medication. As long as she is careful to follow her dr's recommendations, she can expect to live quite a normal life - just with soem more aches and pains accompanying her on her way.

As far as an early diagnosis for you, as far as I know, there aren't any tests that can predict whether or not you are in line to get it - only tests that would indicate if you already have the factors in your blood or joints to show the disease has already begun. Many of the blood tests that show ++ for RA are also used to identify other diseases, such as lupus - so dr's tend to use not only blood tests, but x-rays and a very thorough physical exam to determine a ++ RA diagnosis.

I don't know how old you are (I am 39) but if you feel that the stiffness & soreness you are experiencing is more than just the repercussions from working out or an active wknd., I would at least set up an appt. with your family dr and see if they feel you should see a specialist. Most likely, they'll have you keep a journal of how you are feeling & when, to see if it is linked to any particular activity, or if it is just becoming a normal, daily occurence for you.

Good luck - I hope I've helped just a little - let us know how you're doing! :thumbsup:

04-03-2007, 09:09 AM
I am 37 and was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis a year and half ago. My mother was diagnosed with RA when she was 29 (I was 1 month old). There is a genetic component to RA -- but there seems to be an environmental trigger. My mom is one of 4 children, as am I, and she is the only one with RA, and I am the only one with RA among my siblings. My DH's paternal grandfather, and his paternal uncle both had RA -- but not his dad. There is a real reason for us to watch our two son's closely, with RA on both sides of the family.

There weren't a lot of great medications about when my mom was diagnosed -- She had both her hips and both her knees replaced, and 6 years ago, she had her right leg amputated below the knee due to RA complications with her ankle. She is completely disabled, needs help to do everything she does -- except knit. She knits incredible sweaters, blankets etc for her grandchildren -- and she does not have any thumb joints! Mom has never complained -- but she has remained strong and at almost 70 -- she's my hero.

I take several different medications in large doses to control my RA. When I was first diagnosed I couldn't hold a hairbrush, pull up the sheets on my bed, dress or bathe my children or wipe a counter. Now with my medication -- I have gotten my life back... No, I can't kneel down on the floor to play with my children, I cant stand or walk for long periods of time -- But I have never missed a day of work -- and I am able to look after myself and my family. So....life is good!

You cannot predict who or if anyone in your family will get RA -- but if you are concerned, you should start with a visit to your family doctor. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to screen for it -- If those tests come back positive, then you will need to see a Rheumatologist who specializes in treating the disease. The Rheumatologist can further diagnose, then treat any of the symtoms. RA cannot be cured, but it can be controlled quite effectively. I know that I will need to take some kind of immune suppressing medication for the rest of my life. Comparing that to how I was living prior to treatment -- I'll take the meds thanks. I am thankful that there are treatments available!

04-03-2007, 11:46 AM
I to have this and I found out last summer thats what I have.We first thought it was the Parvo virus that common in dogs and humans can get it as well but after like 20 blood test and a chest xray we finally found out that it is RA.Everything on my body was so swollen it was pretty bad.I just turned 32 at the time and I couldnt walk up and down my steps get my kids dressed hardly write and to get a top off of a jar was hard.For 3 months I was so miserable it was bad. My hands would go numb at night and I still wear braces when I sleep to keepmy wrists even so my hands and fingers dont go numb.Its to the point it felt like my fingers were on fire cause of the numbness in them.Plus I also have carpel tunnel in both wrists so its even worse in my hands at night.My doctor has my on prednisone which thank god started to work on all the swelling like the next day.He was my new best friend.lolNow i just take my medicine when i really need it but my RA is really a pain at times.But I able to still do a lot of my usual things like before but it still slows me down.I will be 33 in june and everytime I go to the doc. I am always the youngest in there.I hate having it.

Here we go again...
04-03-2007, 02:41 PM
I am also one of the unfortunate ones that have Rhumatios Arthritis. I just had my 4th knee surgery yesterday.
Thank God there are many more medications than there were when I was diagnosed at 9 years old. I am now 44 and even though it is finally catching up to me I consider myself blessed. My rhumatoid mainly affects my knees and ankles. I also have fibromyalgia which is a desease that commonly effects thouse with rhumatiod. So when you do not have the joint pain you have to deal with muscle pain.

Go see your doctor and ask them to do an arthritis panel. RA does show up in blood work. Osteoarthritis does not. You do not say how old you are, but you could be feeling some aches and pains that come from osteoarthritis. That pretty much comes from everyday wear on the joints. Please go see a doctor though, forget about paranoia. If you do have RA and catch it early you will be able to get it under control and have lots of pain free years ahead of you. Most of the newer medications keep the RA from attacking the joints and keeps the pain in check. Detecting Fybromyalgia is a little harder. There is a test they can run to see if you have the Epstein Barr virus. This is the same virus that people with Mono carry. If you have the virus in the acute stage then you may have Fybromyalgia.

Good luck to both you and your mother.

04-03-2007, 09:03 PM
I don't have RA, but my mom was diagnosed when I was 6. It took about a year to find the right doctor (one who didn't just inject her with cortisone). She was 47 when she was diagnosed.

Her rheumotologist was amazing - he kept her going for many, many years. He investigated a lot of cutting edge treatments (in the 1970s), and tried them on his patients. My mom got some sort of IV once a month for many years. I wish now that I knew what it was - all I know is that she was very sleepy the rest of the day after she got it.

RA is no picnic, but Mom's was well-controlled with good medical care. There were times when she would get shots in her fingers, wrist, elbow, and shoulder, but she never needed surgery. She worked with my dad in his cabinet shop for close to 20 years after her diagnosis. She made my wedding dress, bridesmaids' dresses, and her own dress. She lived for 30 years after her diagnosis. Her death was not related to her RA.

I know that, if Mom were here, she would tell you to never give up. She was always trying to do stuff with her hands to keep them "limbered up". One of her aunts had RA, and she ended up virtually unable to walk or use her hands. Treatments have come so far.

I wish the best of luck to anyone with RA. I grew up around it, and I know how hard it is!


04-04-2007, 08:08 PM
I know you're looking for people in the medical field... I'm actually in the Psychiatric field, not medical... but I can offer some info.
I've had several of the blood tests needed to rule out RA (also used to rule out FM) and luckily didn't have it. Instead I have (and have had since a very early age) a form of degenerative athritis similiar to OA. In the "pain management" stage of any arthritis, diet/exercise & medicine is beneficial. Depending on the severity of any joint damage (get that checked regularly, especially if pain persists even while on medication) surgery can be an option, but most doctors today seem to err on the "let's treat this for a while before we start cutting you up stage".
In my case, I've already had 7 reconstructive surgeries to my right foot (rebuild/ grafts/ transplants/ hardware implants) and tendon transplants to the left ankle. Both knees are coming apart, so I underwent a series of Hyalgan shots over a 12 week period (that was supposed to give me 6-9 months of relief) and medications. The shots only gave me relief for about 2 months, so my medications have been doubled. My left hand (especially my middle finger) has been effected & the last joint there is almost gone (result of OA & repetitive motion: guitar playing & climbing on challenge courses) and my hips & lower back show signs as well. Since my "meds" were upped, I have had some relief, but I know that at some point surgery will have to be done. The upside today of is that the turnaround time from knee surgery averages about a week!!
So, diet & exercise (to help relieve any extra pressure to joints) and medications will work. With exercise look for low impact exercises that still raise the heart-rate. And here is a thought for anyone being treated for arthritis: I keep a "Pain-scale Calendar" to show which joints may hurt for how long each day, then when I go back in for my check-ups it's a whole lot easier to show to the doc & he can see how well the treatment course is working.