A doctor talks to an overwhelmed woman holding a pamphlet.

Managing a New Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis

A rheumatoid arthritis (RA)diagnosis brings about various challenges and a range of emotions from grief to relief.

Results from the 2019 RA In America Survey highlights one of many aspects of an RA diagnosis. For example, 78 percent of people living with RA who took the survey indicated that they had to see more than 1 doctor to get a diagnosis. But once it is obtained, how do people adjust to an RA diagnosis?

Managing a new rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis

How Did You React when You Were Diagnosed with RA?
Editorial Team
"Receiving an RA diagnosis can lead to a variety of conflicting and powerful emotions. Sometimes, these can be fear of the future, anger at a new reality, or relief from a long, mysterious journey. No matter what an individual’s reaction is to a new diagnosis though, all experiences are valid. No two people will experience this life-changing event in the same way, and that is completely alright."

The New Normal
Shelbie Atwater
"I am new to the rheumatoid arthritis world and this is my first article on Rheumatoidarthritis.net. I was recently diagnosed with RA and I am still trying to understand the diagnosis. At first, I was upset and angry. Why was this happening to me? I’ve taken care of myself, exercised, and eaten relatively healthy."

Community Poll

How long ago were you diagnosed with RA?

No. 1 – The Diagnosis
Carla Kienast
"...an RA diagnosis is not the end of the world. It’s an opportunity to make things better. There have been a lot of challenges since my diagnosis and I know that there will be more facing me in the future. But I have learned patience and resilience. I have a terrific medical team and the wonderful RA community to help support me through the rough patches."

Transitioning from Diagnosis to Severe RA
David Advent
"My first appointment with my rheumatologist after my initial diagnosis–which ironically was on my 22nd birthday– revealed a particularly nasty development. After listing my current symptoms and comparing my x-rays, my rheumatologist noticed that the joint damage I was experiencing was rapidly advancing, forcing him to label my condition now as severe RA. This came as quite a blow."

What Would Your Current Self Say to Your Newly Diagnosed Self?
Editorial Team
"When someone first learns about a new diagnosis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Discouraged. As if you’re starting all over in learning how to live. In a way, yes, you are starting from scratch as you build a life that works for this new you that has RA. You learn how to implement kindness, an understanding for your own body, and how best to take care of yourself."


The RA In America 2019 Survey was conducted online from June through September of 2019. A total of 3736 people completed the survey.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The RheumatoidArthritis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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