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RA or not RA

Hi, I am new here. My rheumatologist thinks that I might have RA, but he isn't sure yet. My blood tests are normal, so if I have RA I am seronegative.

I have inflammation in two finger-joints, and that is my only symptom. It started about 6 weeks ago and things have improved since that time. I am able to make a fist now, I couldn't do that a couple of weeks ago.

My finger-joints are still a bit swollen, but they don't hurt much anymore. I don't take medication. I am not tired at all, and I don't experience morning stiffness at all. Rest usually helps. My mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother has/had OA. To me my symptoms sounds more like OA than RA.

I am not looking for a diagnosis online, I will discuss that with my rheumatologist when I see him in October, but I was wondering what other people experienced when they were diagnosed with RA. Did any of you have very mild symptoms in the beginning?

  1. That's a good question, , and I hope you get lots of input from the community. I hope you find that you do not have RA and that the swelling in your fingers had a different cause. If it is RA, it's good that you caught it so early. Wishing you the very best. - Lori (Team Member)

    1. Thank you. I am glad I found this site. I had my second appointment this week. The inflammation in my fingers is gone, and it happened without Methotrexate. My rheumatologist still thinks that it could be RA, but it could also be something else. He told me to contact him again if I get new symptoms, but at the moment I have no symptoms and no inflammation in other parts of my body.

    2. What great news, ! We don't hear a lot of stories like yours in this community. That's very refreshing. I hope the symptoms never return, but we are here for you if they do. Enjoy! - Lori (Team Member)

  2. I started out with 3 finger on my left hand. Thumb, Index and middle. I was tested so many times for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome it wasn't funny. Then another piece of me started acting up, right wrist and two outside fingers. Nothing showed in blood work, Rheumy said "tendonitis" and hyper extension at night when I sleep, wrist guards given and wore at night. Full disclosure I was hyperextending my wrist at night. That cleared up for a time and back to those 3 fingers. As time went on more and more things started to appear. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia eventually, stuff continue, no meds working, 5 yrs later I told the Rheumy enough was enough, with my whole left hand puffing up. She then ordered a Full Body Bone Scan with Contrast. I lit up like a Christmas Tree, her words not mine. Thus the DX of Seronegative RA arrived. I truly believe we are all different on how are bodies show the RA at first and even 22 yrs in to it. hang tight with your Rheumy and see where it goes for now. Wish you much luck on getting this sorted out soon.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. It also started out in my fingers. The inflammation disappeared without Methotrexate. My rheumatologist still thinks that it could be RA, but I have no symptoms at the moment. I might get new symptoms in the future, but it is also possible that it is not RA. My rheumatologist is not sure yet. He told me to contact him again if I get new symptoms, and I will do that.

  3. I would have an HLA-B27 test run. Most people who have psoriatic arthritis are positive for this test.

    Are your fingers sausage shaped?

    1. The inflammation is gone now , but my fingers were not sausage shaped. I found some pictures online, and my fingers didn't look that way at all. I don't know that test, but I will ask my rheumatologist next time. Thank you.

  4. I was diagnosed with seronegative RA in 2018. I have been on 4 Biologics. Methotrexate was first med but I have lung issues, diagnosed 8 months after RA diagnosis so the dr took me off that & put me on Arava. The dr believe lung issues are due to the RA. That didn’t work so I went to Humira injections which worked for a little over 1 1/2 years. Just been switched to Ebrel a month ago & it’s seems to be working.
    I too have OA but they say biologics don't help OA, so if the swelling & pain diminishes with the biologic then it’s RA. Also If the morning stiffness & swelling lasts 45 minutes or longer than it’s RA-OA morning stiffness is shorter. This is what I’m being told. Hope this helps a bit.
    Have a blessed evening.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. My inflammation disapperared without Methotrexate. My rheumatologist didn't expect that. He still thinks that it could be RA, but he doesn't know yet, it could also be something else. I have no symptoms now, and he told me to contact him again if I get new symptoms. The thing about morning stiffness confuses me. I have never had morning stiffness, and the swelling got worse when I used my hands. If I was inactive there was less swelling. It confuses me because it sounds different than the things I have read about RA.

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