How old were you when you were diagnosed with Rheumat... - NRAS


30,397 members36,538 posts

How old were you when you were diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)?

Katie-NRASKatie-NRASAdministrator762 Voters

Please select one:

190 Replies


benmaise in reply to Bully915



I was diagnosed at 49 but the RA had started before. I would explain symptoms to myself as related to not being fit enough or my age or stress from a known stressful job.

Ms48 in reply to LymeRA2013

Exactly I did the same thing ...

I thought that me being stiff or in a lil pain was just me getting older.

I hate this !!!!

Shelly1969 in reply to Ms48

Me too 😥 started getting stiff in the morning like an old lady at 46 just put it down to getting older too

Me too 😥 started getting stiff in the morning lots of joint pains like an old lady around 45 just put it down to getting older too I got diagnosed at 48yrs old their still trying to sort out my meds as I'm allergic to Nsaid and sulphonimides I'm currently taking Hydroxychloroquine and 5mg prednisone took bad reaction to methotrexate 😔 hopefully something will help me soon any way take care of yourself x



I enjoyed very good health until being diagnosed with RA at 73. I was, and remain, a keen cyclist regularly undertaking 70+ mile rides. So far the RA has been confined to my hands.

Frederick Robins.

I too love cycling, although I definitely don't go quite as far as you. A few years ago I was hardly able to walk let alone cycle but medication has helped tremendously. Determined not to give up cycling I made the decision to invest in an e-bike. I only use the pedal assist on hills but the sheer joy of being able to cycle again in nature is wonderful. Long may it last for both of us.

Hi Cinina,

I was 73 when diagnosed. I’m now75. I really enjoy cycling and try and get out as often as possible with my cycling friends. Ive found cycling to have a nice social side with the mid-ride cafe stop for a coffee and a natter also very enjoyable.

RA only affects my hands so at present it does not impede my riding.

Well done for buying an e-bike. It must take the stress off your knees. So fingers crossed this rain will stop soon and the roads will dry up and we can get our Lycra on.

Stay safe.


26, after giving birth.

Me too


29 but had symptoms for at least a year prior to diagnosis.


I was 58 when eventually diagnosed but I was told I had probably had it for several years and had managed to "cope" with it!

JFlay in reply to MayDaisy

Me too! 🙄


Psoriatic arthritis at 23


Psoriatic arthritis at 23

I had grumblings in my 30s which went away, was eventually diagnosed at 60 with a very high rheumatoid factor and had symptoms for a couple of years before that.

Hi Katie I was 34 years old when diagnosed with RA? but it took 2years for a confirmed blood test result. I'm 65yrs now so I've had it for 31 years & still walking unaided, even though I was told initially that I'd be in a wheelchair in 2years time!

Diagnosed at 40 but had symptoms since 28. It went mostly quiet when I was 46 so stopped meds. Mega flare when I was 61. I'd forgotten how bad it was. Now juggling the cocktail and side effects.

I was diagnosed 49, was a healthy weight very active mother of two active boys, went for a weekend away with my family by Sunday night was in hospital with the most excruciating pain ankles, shoulder, knees and wrists that was six years ago

Mine was that quick too. Funny how some people have grumblings on and off for years, then others, it comes on full steam ahead!


Hi I was 18 now 57 if that helps

Forgot to say it took a year before diagnosis, at first they thought it was systemic lupus.



Hi Katie,

Was diagnosed with RA at 52, but struggled many years be for that,just as l would make doctors appointment the symptoms would subside,so it went on until l had a bad flare in 2011.

I was 14 so I’m out of the age ranges you have.

These are quite large age brackets!

Diagnosed at 63 with a very high rheumatoid factor having been told in my fifties my pain and stiffness was due to "getting old" and my distorted hands were osteo and nothing could be done about it and I would have to "put up with it".

Lovely 50th birthday (Not really)!! but glad in a way that finally had a diagnosis

Diagnosed with Polymyalgia at 63 changed to RA at 66 with new better consultant.


It seems the group I'm in 57 is the biggest. Is there an opinion as to why this is? Postmenopausal?


I was 29 ,that was 34 years ago

I was 19, one to two months after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes

I was just 51!


Symptoms started at 13, and was diagnosed in January 1983, a couple of months after I turned 14. I've ticked the 16-30 box as the ages didn't go low enough. Is that because below the age of 16 it's considered JIA rather than RA?

Sarah_89 in reply to Kags68

I've always wondered this too!

I was 15 when diagnosed but the doctor said I was probably too old for it to be classed as JIA, so he diagnosed just plain old RA.

It's very confusing when you read the literature though isn't it?

Actually I was 15!but that option wasn't on.. X


I was diagnosed at 25 in 1981 but, having had a childhood/adolescent history of pain & mobility problems, it was finally decided by the medics that I had always had it.

Was given diagnosis in 2005 but it took 8 years to get it. GP took a long time to refer me to a rheumatologist. Was on anti inflammatories for those 8 years. I knew I had Ra because my mother, Grandma, and maternal aunts had it to varying degrees.




I had just had my 48th birthday when the ten tonne truck hit but had pain in my fingers for several years before, which I had ignored ( lesson to learn there folks)

M x


I was 54 when diagnosed, but had problems for a few years prior to this which had been noted as thyroid and B12 issues.

Diagnosed at four years old in 1986 with jeuvinile arthritis, been with me ever since.

I was diagnosed at 26


I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis on February 13, 2019, when I was 54 years old. Happy Valentine’s Day to me - not! Someone asked, what were you doing one year before you were diagnosed? In December 2017, I had a laparoscopic hysterectomy due to fibroids and, after developing an infection at the navel site, I was on various antibiotics until the end of January 2018. The good news is that today I am active, fit, healthy, and almost symptom-free on methotrexate for 8 weeks, it seems to be working very well with no side effects.


I was 56 when I was diagnosed but had been revered twice before and lived with pain since I was 40 without any diagnosis or relief.


But my rheumatoid factor was first tested at the age of 30 - negative - and still is !

modover in reply to Mmrr

Yes my rheumatoid factor has always been negative, I was diagnosed at 47 but painful joints from early teenage years.

I was 27 and diagnosed with both RA and fibromyalgia I’m 51 now.


Diagnosed at 49. Symptoms started two years earlier.

I was diagnosed at 70 after a streptococcus infection on the way back from my Far-East holiday 18 months ago. I had signs of Sjogren syndrome for probably 15 years and my mother had rheumatoid arthritis. I suspect the infection had trigger the underlying disease.

springcross in reply to Cien

Me too, four months after my 70th but I hadn't been feeling well for several months prior to my birthday.

Diagnosed at 49 after 2 years of symptoms.

diagnosed in 1995 age 43, am 67 now. Thank God for the arrival of biologics in 2000, and a marvellous GP and rheumatologist - both always on the ball. Lots of joint damage/surgery but am reasonably active and mobile, but still on heavy duty drugs. Am pretty sure that RA began after long period of being in very unhappy marriage and trying strenuously to keep family life on track - all very stressful and tipping my immune system into illness.

am still hearing horror stories of people not getting diagnosed quickly enough....

55 but I had RA symptoms many months beforehand especially in my knees but was told it’s arthritis but the pain disappeared once I started treatment for RA


For a year before being diagnosed, it felt like every time I tried to work out lightly, 7-10 minute jog—it felt like I got hit by a bus. In May 2018, three months before being diagnosed, went for 15 minute light bike ride and the next morning I stepped off my bed with shooting pain in feet—confirmed plantar fasciitis for first time in my life—it was awful. In August 2018, while in the pool with my three year old, I began feeling tingling, numbness and then losing sensation on left side of back and leg with shooting pain in my back—never have I had these types of issues. All symptoms got worse from there; RF elevated but low at 21, deficient B12 and everything else was okay other than complete cog fog with loss of words. Docs said RA, Psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia. I’m really hoping this is not the start of MS.

Love the term cog fog. I have never heard it before but now I am going to use it all the time. It describes exactly how I feel.


Quite a big difference between 31and 50! Think you needed more options on the poll!

I was 38



I was 49 but things happening a few years before that

I was diagnosed with RA Xmas 2018 at 42, it started with tendinitis in right shoulder and knee, I thought due to years of swimming, skiing and crocheting. Then my neck became very stiff and my hands very painful. Currently on MTX shots and prednisolone plus calcium+vit.D and folic acid. My knees are the most painful joints right now with limited movement, e.g. I can't sit on the floor with my legs crossed.



Big difference in poll age brackets.

61 non sero RA. Other issues for 4 yrs prior to a massive flare in ankle then knees. Still not convinced I have RA but definitely auto immune response.

Like another comment endless years of mega ongoing stress. ... I blame this..the immune system went nuts.


I started ra when I am 37 now last17 years ups and down I use sticks but no walking just up down & toilet and hoping one day I b back on my foot again like baby 😊

Hi katie I was only 35

I was back and forth to the drs for 5 yrs before he referred me to a rheumatologist by which time I had almost 95percent inflamation in my body.

Blood tests mid 30s as I had very early OA but RF negative. Dramatic onset over 2 days early 60s. RF and CCP very high

I was 45 when diagnosed with siero positive RA. I'd had a serious car accident about a year before and my dear mum always said it was the post traumatic stress of the accident that brought it on. I am now 63. Had always had good health and weight prior to developing RA. I was living in Italy at the time and received quick diagnosis. Was initially put on highish dose of medrone then mtx. Medrone then reduced to 2mg daily and put on plaquinal as well. I was doing very well with no visible sign of joint deformation on my hands. I returned to England a few years ago and my rheumatologist wanted to get me off the cortisone so about 18 months ago i was started on Benepali injections as well as continuing the MTX. The injections have been great for my RA. Hardly any inflammation or stiffness however I do get more colds and sinusitis.

Actually I was 77 but felt symptoms before that .

Have had OA for many years in small joints.

RA confirmed by blood tests.

Been on methotrexate and sulfurzalaine now for 1 year and so far so good

Was diagnosed 2009 still working and taking meds as prescribed and surviving.


Must havehad symptoms-for several month ie sore balls of feet, starting to get severe pain when putting wellies on to take dogs for walk, putting down to other things. I was walking my dogs when pain through body brought me to a halt, the dogs looked at me and I found I couldn’t move and felt sick and faint. I went very slowly towards home luckily a friend had come to visit and she saw me having trouble, she went and got my husband who brought the car to get me. That was when I thought I had better visit GP, blood test later told it looks like RA, looked symptoms up on internet and found all things that weren’t right on the list. That was when I was 58 had all the ups and down since.

Best wishes to everybody Linda C

I was 80, a big shock as I know I am in the minority

This January age 58, but had symptoms since my early 40's, I put it down to the menopause and didn't do much about it, even my GP agreed with that 🙄 Just prior to symptoms starting when I was about 40 ish I had German Measles (Rubella virus) I think it's connected to that.

I was diagnosed with RA in my late fifties but it started long before that I had elbow problems and hand problems. I saw a bone specialist who suggested that I should go and see my GP and get referred to an RA clinic. But my then GP insisted it was not RA because I was getting the pain in one elbow not both and the same with my hands.

Very big spread in age grouped together ! 51-70

Possibly pre and post menopausal?

It is disabling. Just wish there was cure

I started having trouble at age 16 But wasn't properly diagnosed until I was 19

54 but I think I had it for Mayby 6 years or more.



58. But like many others had put previous 'niggles' down to menopause, too much running, stress at work and any other reason/excuse that seemed plausible at the time. Untill immobilised. Hindsight is a marvelous lesson 🤔


I was 58. Was initially told it was menopausal symptoms after going back and forth to the drs for a few months then my daughter came home for a weekend and said she thought it was RA.( she had just graduated as a Dr) Went back to drs asking to be tested for it only to be told it wasn’t that. Anyway she did do it and phoned me 24hrs later to apologise and say that it was!

Diagnosed this year age 57 , like many I had symptoms for a few years but put it down to wear and tear ....

I was 46 and am now thinking following a research paper I read recently that mine might have been triggered by an operation I had 8 years previously. It was a TVT mesh implant for stress incontinence. The research paper suggests that the polypropylene used in the mesh implant is an adjuvant for autoimmune diseases. Early days of research but definite signs that this may be the case and makes complete sense to me. Plastic is a foreign substance to the body. Of course it is going to react in some way. Anyway, I thought you might find this interesting.

I was diagnosed at 48 Katie, a little over a month after first symptoms.

Would be more interesting to see results with smaller age brackets - 31- 50 is huge.

I was 66 scared me. I just woke up one day and could hardly move. Weird I thought I was going to be in a wheel chair for the rest if my life. 4 years on its under reasonable control although I still have bad days.


I was diagnosed at 45. I'm now 70. Had suffered a bout of glandular fever six months prior to this. Is it connected? Who knows. Started in my hands and spread to knees and feet. Been on various doses of mtx throughout the past 25 years. Now on 20mg by injection. Get occasional flare ups, usually lasting about 24 hours or so. Would really love to change the name from rheumatoid arthritis to stop confusion with osteoarthritis.

Me too 😥 started getting stiff in the morning lots of joint pains like an old lady around 45 probably years before just put it down to getting older too I got diagnosed at 48yrs old their still trying to sort out my meds as I'm allergic to Nsaid and sulphonimides I'm currently taking Hydroxychloroquine and 5mg prednisone took bad reaction to methotrexate 😔 hopefully something will help me soon any way take care of yourself x

I was 38 when I was first diagnosed, I was packing some boxes, and my are became very stiff and painful, then later on I couldn't lift my arm in the shower it felt as if my shoulder was trying to lift a lead weight and that my arm wasn't connected to my shoulder. I went to see my GP and for some reason he thought I was suffering from anemia and put me on strong iron tablets, when he realised they weren't working he then sent me to the hospital for a scan, it was then that I was diagnosed.

51. Day five in Portugal, knee very sore. Friends with me, one was a doc so got high strength Naproxen from pharmacy. Day 10, could barely get in or out of the car. Day 28 flew home and had to have airport assistance. Got home and could barely get up off a chair, couldn’t hold anything, couldn’t do a button up, pain in wrist, knee and ankles was intolerable. Week later blood tests confirmed RA. It was a really fast and aggressive onset.

2 years ago, was feeling super-fit, did Zumba, Aqua-Zumba, & Tap-dancing every week for years, then one morning at my Zumba class I felt pain in the soles of both feet & next day three swollen fingers. My brother has RA so I knew the symptoms, asked my Doctor to test me for it & “voila”, was highly positive! What a life changer 🥺

Quite big age ranges when you vote. I was 21.

Hi Katie. I was in my late twenties when I experienced the stiffness and pain in my hands which would come and go. Finally diagnosed when I was 55 just after I took early retirement.

I started with pain in my knees at 24, a GP that I at the time claimed that I was to young for arthritis, my mum even tried putting cabbage leaves on my knees every night eventually changed GP. I had to go private to see a Rheumatologist & tested for RA. It all took until I was 27.

I have got Rheumatoid Arthritis almost as an 'Added Extra', to my main Condition(s). I don't want to 'Temp Fate' but I haven't had a serious Flare for some time. The results above, seem to show, that the largest Group are 51-70, followed by 31-50, far fewer over 71. The results also show Some 'Results, in the Under 30 Group. There doesn't seem to be a Group, for 'under 16/ Children' though. An Interesting set of Results, I wonder if Other 'Aspects', of Autoimmune Condition(s) could be similarly assessed?

Once again, thank you Katie. Best wishes, to all


RA diagnosed 2015 at age 72........ but PMR diagnosed in 1999 at age 56 after severe stress events which led to early retirement. personal stress and swimming accident in 2014 preceded dx.

it was suggested by rheumy that the RA was 'in me' for some years prior to 2015 dx and i certainly don't recall any blood tests during 'PMR' .... and now severe osteo in thumbs and wrists too. BUT getting my 2nd year infusions starting Monday, and my first infusions last june/july have made a great difference.


I was seen in March 20 and diagnosed in May 20. Stiffness in hands and feet, plus terrible pain .

i think it would be interesting to see if there are links to hormonal changes - mine started when i came off HRT

I think I started with RA after a traumatic incident. I went in to visit my mother in hospital one morning. On getting to her ward I found curtains closed around her bed. I opened them and discovered her lying there with a sheet over her head. She had died and the hospital hadn't Informed me of this. I obviously became very distressed and traumatised. About 2 months later I started with swollen hands, then swollen feet, which then led on to painful knees, kneck and just about everywhere else. Was diagnosed with RA a few months later on

Mani2010 in reply to Smw-69

That was a sad traumatic experience for you, am sorry about that , I hope you are doing well with the meds

Diagnosed when I was 16 after being diagnosed with Spondylitis age 11.

Hi Katie, I was 3.


I was 33 years old.

I was diagnosed at 19 - am 23 now


Started at 22 with a swollen knee and swollen fin ger. My brilliant doctor sent me to London to the royal orthopaedic hospital, blood tests , xrays and put on gold injections straight awaý, 1 am 64 now and on sulphasalazine, stopped the gold years ago and at one point drug free for a couple of years. Have never had a lot of pain with it , can garden, walk alot, not stiff in the morning, but have spells through out the year where I have flu like symptoms for about 3 weeks to 4 weeks at a time and can feel rough, been going up London to the hospital 3 times a year ever since, they are brilliant, had a really good family doctor at the time, who I have a lot to thank for, class myself as very lucky


This was my 50th Birthday present!never mind onwards & upwards.The flare up’s are hell, I have never suffered pain like it.I’m now 52.i have found this forum very helpful & must admit though quite scary to see what’s ahead.I just wish people would donate as much to research! Not to mention the government!


Diagnosed at 25 (I'm 33 now)

I was 32 years old

I was 32



I was diagnosed in 2007 but I had it at least 5 years before.Jezza

I was diagnosed aged 56 but I had it for about 5years before.Jezzad

I pressed the wrong button on the survey I was 35 when I was first diagnosed after the birth of my youngest son now age 45

15, started with a swollen knee that I thought I'd twisted playing netball.


Happy 50th Birthday present!



I was 61yo when diagnosed. I feel sad for the 71+yo - wondering if they suffered for quite a while before getting a diagnosis?. There’s not gender breakdown, because I’m wondering how many of the 31 - 50 are women who got diagnosed after having a child. Then there’s 16-30 - these are the really awful stats - and the reason there should be more research into finding a CURE - not just more expensive drugs, which are difficult to access.





I had my first episode of 'viral arthritis' when I was expecting my third child age 29.

Had another episode and lots of iritis and other eye problems on and off for years before being diagnosed age 53.

What surprised me is that the opthalmologists always asked if I had rheumatoid arthritis and I always replied no... had they taken an ESR perhaps I'd have been diagnosed earlier.


40 , I had the symptoms long ago around 9 years before diagnosis 😑x

38 when diagnosed, symptoms probably about three years before that. Felt very sorry for myself until I went to my first specialist appointment and the three people waiting to go in ahead of me were all young women around 25 or younger





Actually 36, 32 years ago. ^( now also have Sjogren's, Vasculitis, OA, Osteoporosis and Bronchiectasis)


I was 43 when diagnosed in January 2001. I thought I had a frozen shoulder from the type of work that I did at the time but my GP did blood tests & within two weeks I was diagnosed & put on Vioxx (now banned in UK). I've been on Methotrexate since Vioxx was banned (around 2005) & am doing OK on it (in remission just now but also have Osteoporosis & have lost an inch & half in height in just a year!!). My younger brother, who is in his early 50s was diagnosed a few years ago with both RA & OA, so he's actually in worse shape than me, sadly


I was 10yrs old

10 yrs old


Many people younger than 16 develop RA , I was diagnosed with JIA at 10 yrs old

51 -

I was 27 now 74.


Hi I was 18 months old when i was diagnosed with it so can’t vote now I am 55 years old still walking with one false knee and pins and thank the Lord I am mostly pain free


61 but it took quite a long time to be diagnosed.


Symptoms started at age 12. Diagnosed age 26.

I was 63 although it took 2 yrs to diagnose it doc said it was arthritis posture I knew something was badly wrong I feel so sorry for you youngsters who have young children it must be so hard you can’t just drop everything and go and lie down with little kids so well done I admire you all stay safe everyone x


I started having problems in 1972, aged 27. Lots of differant medication and surgery since then .

Officially in 2013 when I was 29 but I’d been having issues one and off since 2007

Should be an option for under 16




Soon after my 50th birthday, shock! Trying to live my life to the fullest taking my meds, things could have been worse, so I stay positive everyday and try not to think too much about it. I take morning walks 5/7 days a week, I feel good, fingers crossed


I was diagnosed aged 27 and have had many treatments over the years, most worked for a while, but then caused problems, now aged 73, but still try to keep everything moving!!

I started having systems of R.A at 8 1/2 had my first operation on my ankles, then because I kept falling down during P.E. During the years I found it difficult to get.out of bed, always felt cold, my poor Mum, trying to find me warm tights,!

During my late teens to early twenties I was not pain free but it was easier, BUT by about 24, the excruciating pain started to come back with a horrific pain as if making up for those few.mild years.

I am now 71, unable to stand for no longer than 15/20 seconds, the RA is.Now every where, my toes the big ones and the next are due to be fused together , am having my ankles MRI. X-Ray ,both hips have been replaced, one of them has had a secondary repair, my left shoulder has been replaced, my knuckles are replaced on both hands with silicone and rubber, my spine according to my RA.. Consultant is so crumbled he has told surgeon will as there are too many bones to pick up,

So I carry on with my awful Zimmer frame, my legs are bruised through falling over!.

Absolutely love it when people tell me I look great,but they have no idea that inside i am crying 😢


I was finally diagnosed with OA and RA at the age of 56 even though i was having symptoms for the last 15 years. Frequent visits to the clinics and only being told to go home and take some ibuprofen.

I was diagnosed at the age of 46. First signs of inflamation started a yr before after having an op to remove my gall bladder. The wound became infected and i think this is what caused my immune response.

I was 32, started in my fingers, hands and feet very bad at beginning.

Does Undifferentiated Inflammatory Arthritis count?