Questions for the Newly Diagnosed

A rheumatoid arthritis (RA) diagnosis can be a lot to process. Yes, you're finally relieved to know what was causing all those awful symptoms like pain, unprecedented morning stiffness, and your elbow swelling to the size of a tennis ball, all out of nowhere. But now you have to wrap your head around what RA is, its symptoms, the complications it could potentially cause, its treatments, how it will impact your life and what to do about it, and, and, and...

It can be helpful to know others' stories and RA journey as it can help with the feelings of isolation and confusion. Here's a collection of a few common questions that come up for those newly diagnosed with RA.

What did your pre-diagnosis life look like?

We get a lot of questions from the RheumatoidArthritis.net community, especially around the diagnosis.

A common question newly diagnosed people want to know is what kinds of symptoms others experienced before getting an official diagnosis of RA. They want to know what the straw was that broke the camel's back and what prompted you to go to the doctor to seek medical help.

Here's what our community members have expressed.

How did you react to your diagnosis?

Reaction to an RA diagnosis can take various forms: anger, disbelief, shock, sadness, and sometimes even relief. Different people process this life-changing event in various different ways. It is only after processing these various emotions that the real work of dealing with them begins.

Here, our community members share their reactions when they received this life-altering diagnosis.

What's a flare vs. regular symptoms?

RA vs. RD: which is the better way to call Rheumatoid Arthritis

Part of what makes RA especially frustrating is its unpredictable nature. One day you can feel fine and relatively pain-free; the next day incapacitated by immense pain and fatigue and unable to attend the dinner with friends you had planned a month ago. This unpredictability and canceling of plans can cause a lot of distress and feelings of guilt. But it also often confuses those newly diagnosed when they are having a flare vs. is it just coming and going of symptoms?

See some responses from the community members about this conundrum.

Navigating a new illness

As we all navigate this terrible condition, it can help, even if only a little bit, to know that there are others going through something similar. Please visit our community page to seek support, read others' experiences, and ask any questions you may have about RA.

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