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Earliest symptoms vs diagnosis

The more I learn about RA the more I wonder when it really started to affect me. I had a complete hysterectomy at age 41 and only did HRT for about a year and so blamed a lot of things on that. I also had a terrible time recovering from the surgery.

I also had a MI at age 45 that was not related to blockage but rather vasoconstriction. I’ve since discovered studies that show a correlation between RA and endothelial inflammation that causes that type of MI.

I think I’ve been experiencing increased fatigue for at least 10 years but trying hard to deny/ignore it. But was that due to RA or a multitude of other things?

I’m curious to know everyone’s experiences with possible early symptoms you didn’t even consider at first vs onset of what made you think “oh this could be RA”.

  1. I remember being lethargic, but that was attributed to being recently diagnosed with Hashimoto's Disease. In retrospect, it could have been the RA announcing its presence. That same year I had a pituitary microadenoma, began menopause....lots of things seemed to be happening at the same time. This was almost 30 years ago and in retrospect, I don't believe that each correlates to another disease....rather, I think you just get run down and start exploring the why's and suddenly uncover all the things that have been in the background. Hard to say.

    1. My oldest son came home with a beautiful 1997 Trans AM. It was a magnificent car. He wanted to take me for a ride. I could not get in the car. I mean there was no way I could get in. It broke my heart and made him angry. I apologized and while he took others I went inside and collapsed because I was so exhausted. It took three more years before we figured it out.

      1. I had an MI when I was 30 or so thanks to the RA on the night after my shoulder got replaced, so I get it. I had to convince the nurses on the night shift that it was, in fact, a heart attack. I kept saying, "no, I'm sure, I can feel it." After six hours and 20% heart muscle dead they finally listened. So now I live with that as well as 30 years of RA and nothing surprises me any more when the docs say it's related to my RA, it's a system-wide illness! You are not alone! Keep on keepin' on, DPM

        1. , my formal diagnosis of RA didn't occur until three years ago. But I can look back to see the signs accumulating since the early 90's. I think one of the initial signs was overall body swelling, when I was battling the flu. Remember the doctor saying that it wasn't a "normal" reaction. Then the Renaud's kicked in. My RA factor has been high since 1998, but, even now, I don't have the typical flares with red and swollen joints. This disease manifests in so many different ways. It affected my eyes a few years ago (episcleritis), and causes overall joint pain and stiffness on a daily basis. I agree with your thought that we could have been affected much earlier than when the doc says RA.

          1. Hi . So sorry you had these diagnostic issues. Unfortunately, the stories of those who sensed a problem and received a quick diagnosis seem pretty few and far between. Even my wife, Kelly Mack (a contributor here), who was diagnosed as a toddler was not believed by the first doctor her parents took her to (yes, you read that correctly - said the two year old was lying to mimic her grandmother who had recently broken a hip, never mind the incredibly swollen knee). I understand the part about RA being difficult to diagnose, but I struggle with the number of patients who are dismissed (potential paying customers at that). Best, Richard (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team)

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