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Diagnosed Today. 34 Years Old.

I have just been diagnosed with RA today. I am 34 yr old. I have a 6 week old baby and a 4 yr old so I automatically worried about my future life style with them. I have read that treatment has come a long way over the past few years. But my main question is; even with treatment drugs will I still get pain flare ups? I’m waiting for referral to rheumatologist so would love any helpful info that you could share. I blamed all my symptoms on pregnancy so I feel I have had it for a good few months… mainly my ankles and now my fingers and wrists. Trying to remain positive and trust the professionals

  1. I am so sorry this has happened. I have had RA for 22 years, and I still remember those first few months. The first thing is to take a breath. I am serious; sit down, watch some TV or play with children, anything but thinking about RA. Now I know you cannot do that, but trust me, someday, you will be able to do so. I promise. So please remember that you cannot because you will.

    Secondly, the treatments have come an incredibly long way. It is getting even better. Tomorrow will be better still. It is never a good time to be diagnosed with RA. But today is better than ever, and here is the best news, tomorrow will be better.

    It may take some time to see a rheumatologist. But instead of looking at everything you can find, please go to Google Scholar and ask your questions. You will get legitimate science if it is available. Finally, come back here often. We have a wonderfully supportive community, and we are so glad you found us.


    1. I have had RA for 51 years. I was diagnosed when I was 19 but believe it started when I was 15 years old. I have never been pregnant so I don't believe RA is caused by some product of conception. My father and his mother both had it and I have multiple family members that have RA. I believe genetics and the environment play a huge part in developing RA. I have worked in medicine my whole life as an RN and have spoken with many rheumatologist and physicians.

    2. Hi . I totally agree with you. I think I simply didn't word it well. I didn't mean to say that pregnancy causes RA. What I meant was that, for many women, the stress of pregnancy on the body (the hormonal changes) can create a physical environment that triggers autoimmune disorders we are already genetically predisposed to. Autoimmune diseases can surface at any time, but many people find the trigger, the condition that activates the disease, is some kind of extraordinary stress. It might be the death of a family member, the development of another autoimmune disease or a major illness such as cancer, or even Covid, It might even be just the stress of life. For instance, my niece developed Celiac's disease immediately after the birth of her first child. Blood tests show that it runs in our family and that many of our family members have the gene for it. But it has not developed into an active disease for all of those family members. Some have gone through some major changes and stresses and still not developed it, but for many of those who did, the symptom began immediately after a stressful event. Does that make sense? - Lori (Team Member)

  2. I was diagnosed with RA 43 years ago. I, too, had a newborn. Treatment options since that time have increased tenfold. Seeing a rheumatologist, early diagnoses and accessing available medications have made such a difference for me. When one primary medication has stopped working, there has always been something else available. Occasional flareups happen. When they do, I take a pain medication temporarily. I'm 73 years old now and walk at least three miles a day, lawn bowl, hit the driving range occasionally, hike a bit. I'm truly living the Golden Years. Down times have been temporary. I wish the same for you.

    1. It is so important for people who are new to RA, like , to hear from people like you, . Thanks for taking the time to offer your support. Wishing you the best! - Lori (Team Member)

  3. I was just diagnosed with RA a few days ago as well after having all the blood work and exams done. I’m only 33 and have had symptoms for almost a year. The pain started in one of my knees and since then has spread to almost every joint including my feet, hands, and jaw. On my first visit to the doctors I actually told her that all my researched indicated to RA but was really hoping it wasn’t an autoimmune disease. Sure enough, the results came back and the RA factor was present while everything else came back normal. I was given steroid medication and it has helped tremendously especially with the inflammation which is the main cause for the pain. I will be seeing a rheumatologist soon so I will share my experience on here with everyone. It truly is life changing and I wonder if one day I’ll be able to run around and do normal activities like I once did. Best of luck to you.

    1. Hi and . Sorry to hear about the diagnoses. Before you see a rheumatologist, I thought you might be interested in this article from our contributor Tamara on what to expect from your first rheumatology appointment: In addition, this article from another contributor, Kelly Mack, looks at questions for the rheumatologist to help one take charge of RA: Hoping this information is helpful and know that this community is here for you. Best, Richard ( Team)

  4. Not to step on anyone else's reply but RA is just about one of the only illnesses where you take medicine that will almost never work 100% and they literally tell you that going in. We take meds to lessen the chances of a flare up and lessen the severity of the flare up when it happens. Plus, getting the right biologic for your specific disease takes trial and error that might take years. It took me 20 years to find the right one and by then damage was done. Please, though, I don't want to doom say you here and make you think it's going to be awful because the truth is most of us find a routine that works for us and we know some of our triggers and avoid them - such as lack of sleep, or for me personally, sugar is a big one. You'll find those things for yourself. If you are lucky too, you'll find the right med for you in the first shot, it can happen! Either way, we will be here for you for questions, support, to hear you vent, or just so you can be with other people who really get what you're going through. Keep on keepin' on, DPM

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