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Could I be experiencing RA symptoms?

For the past week and half I have had a lot of pain in both my hands, my fingers, my wrists, and my elbows with lots of stiffness. I went to my regular doctor. He did all blood work up and said everything was normal. From everything that I have read and heard this really sounds like RA. So I’m asking can all your rest be normal and still have RA?

  1. Hi there . We're sorry to hear that you've been experiencing this pain lately! To answer your question, RA does not have show up as positive in your blood work for it to exist. About 30% of people diagnosed with RA are what is called Seronegative, you can read more about it here: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/seronegative-ra-blood-tests-dont-tell-entire-story/ We hope this is helpful, and that you're able to get some answers & relief very soon. Best, Ashley (RheumatoidArthritis.net Team Member)

    1. Hi ,

      I am one of the people with "seronegative RA" that Ashley mentioned. I always look "good on paper," but my joints tell a different story! I share that experience here: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/living/testing-testing-1-2-3/

      As that article and the one shared by Ashley describe, bloodwork is just one element that doctors should look at in determining an RA diagnosis. The physical exam, x-rays, and ultrasounds are all important ways to detect issues of inflammation, deterioration, and range of motion.

      I would recommend being seen by a rheumatologist. Whether or not your symptoms are due to RA, rheumatologists specialize in joint issues and are therefore best equipped to determine the cause of joint pain and stiffness. Your symptoms do overlap with RA, so it makes sense that you are wondering if it is RA. There are also other conditions that can cause those symptoms, so seeing a specialist could be very helpful in getting an accurate diagnosis.

      It's hard to advocate for oneself and expend energy searching for answers when we are in pain, so I send you all the best in this frustrating process. Please do continue to reach out if you have questions to ask or want to update us on how you're doing.

      Wishing you all the best,
      Tamara

      1. I am seeking answers too. Pain and swelling in both hands. Feet hurt. Comes and goes. Prednisone cleared all symptoms as soon as inwent off they slowly came back. Now I have redness over boney areas of hands and feet. In my mid back is pain. Extreme fatigue. Before this had blurry vision memory and coordination was off and alittle chest pain. But blood work normal

        1. Hey , thank you for reaching out.

          I am sorry you're going through these symptoms. Have you seen a rheumatologist? They can better assess your symptoms and order more specialized tests.

          If you have seen a rheumatologist, I always suggest seeking a second opinion if you are not happy. You know best when something is wrong with your body.

          I wanted to share an article from our diagnostics section that describes the different tools used in diagnosing RA: https://rheumatoidarthritis.net/diagnosis/

          If you are comfortable doing so, we would love to hear updates on how you are doing. All the best, Monica

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