22,453 members26,189 posts

What are the chances?

This has been bothering for sometime now. Me and my sister were diagnosed with RA around the same time 3 years ago (we were 29 and 30 years then) though there is no history of RA in the family. Mine is the severe type compared to my sister. We have another sister who is 27 now and she is perfectly healthy (touch wood) but just having my doubts if she will start showing RA symptoms when she reaches 29/30. Does any one have siblings with RA? can we get a diagnosis for RA before the onset?

11 Replies


My brother got it when he was in his late thirties. I got it 2 yrs ago. Where now in our late 40's and I'm early 50. He, my brother has had it for at least 10 yrs ( 11 or 12 yrs now). We also do not have any family history and my other 2 siblings do not gave it.

Sci x


Hi my siblings do not have RA but my brother has Lupus and my sister has MS.

My dad had AS so it much be something in our genes. I have another brother and sister who are totally fine (touch wood). Me and my sister worry about our children but they are all grown ups and all seem fine ( again touch wood).

I think if you have problems in your family with any auto immune diseases then the doctors try and act quickly to get a diganose.

Mary x


I'm the opposite, in that no-one in my family has RA. But when I got diagnosed my 2 sisters got v worried! Sorry if I'm telling you what you already know, but both my sisters asked their GP's if they could be tested for RF factor and the anti-CCP to see whether the probability that they could also develop it was high. But it's not just whether or not you have these various indications as a good percentage of people test positive, but never develop the disease. And it isn't a sure fire thing, and also some people test negative and still develop the disease. So maybe it's not really worth even asking to be tested as you'd just worry but with no guarantees.

But there also has to be a trigger to actually set off the disease. Smoking and stress are said to be big triggers for RA (I did both!) so your sister should take care not to do either, and that's probably the most useful thing to do to try to make sure she never develops it. Polly

1 like

To my knowledge no one in my immediate family has RA - but then nor did anyone else grow up with chronic and debilitating eczema and alopecia as I did. On the other hand both my sisters are profoundly deaf so I think I've got off light really! You can't spend too much time worrying about things that may well never happen is my view. It is interesting seeing family connections and my father had severe gout - my gran was being diagnosed with possible RA when she died with my grandad in a car crash in her early fifties. My first cousin on this same side of the family apparently has RA but takes no meds and just sips at a brandy bottle more and more as time goes by. It's good to be on the look out but not to the point of letting it rule your life - especially when there are no conclusive tests yet. Tilda


I believe my RA kicked off from a very stressful time back in Jan 2010. My aunt on my dads side also had RA and hers started at roughly the same age as me and also triggered by stress we believe.

None of the rest of my family show any signs but like you all it is a worry that they might! I guessed at the moment there's not a lot that can be done. Xx


My family (all four grandparent lines) are absolutely full of autoimmune disorders of varying types (including some rarer ones). No surprise then that I have (at least) two or them.

But, the plus side is that cancer is very rare in our extended family. The only three out of a very large number over four or five generations were all the consequence of uncontrolled autoimmune disease - eg small bowel adenocarcinoma because of untreated coeliac disease. Given that the lifetime incidence of cancers in the UK takes the risk up to nearly one in three people getting cancer at some time in their life, I guess that makes my family quite lucky.


Hello.... Nobody in my family suffers with RA or even arthritis come to that, similar to Luthien though I went through a very stressful time in 2009/10 and my symptoms started in 2011 but I'm still wonder in my case that it could a menopausal link but who knows?! I do worry that my children may develop it especially the youngest as she does get quite a few aches and pains.... but no point worrying as what will be will be. X


Hi, my granddad had RA and my sister has MS - primary progressive type. My understanding is that you can carry the 'RA gene' but it doesn't mean you will develop the disease. Your sister may or may not carry the gene but there are other factors that can trigger the onset of the illness. In my case, I ticked all boxes (stress, not looking after myself. living off nervous energy and an infection to boot). The disease can also skip a generation. The Rheumatoid factor test I had was positive and my anti CCP was positive. Some people can have positive RF and never develop the disease. Also if your sister could be tested, would she want to know or worry over something that may never occur? I wish I had taken more care of myself although I will never know 100% that all these factors were responsible. It may just be what my consultant told me when I asked how I got this 'a case of bad luck'. It sounds blunt when I put it like that but in many cases there is no obvious answer. Hopefully your sister will stay well and will never experience the joys of RA. You're obviously a very close family and care for each other and if she did show signs, she'll have a great support network.from you and your other sister. x


Hi, Noone else in my family has RA but my 2 sisters & I have a genetic condition called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome that affects the joints, connective tissue etc. Some people think that this makes us more pre-disposed to developing RA but I am not convinced as I'm the only one that has it. I am pretty sure that stress played a major part in me getting RA (I was out of work for a year with over 100 job applications and around 35 interviews).


My grandmother on my mothers side had RA untreated died in 1940. My sister looks like she has RA but not diagnosed, swollen disabled joints. She does have angiodeama, another auto immune disease. My brother suffers from gout.

I too agree mines was accentuated by stress of work-related issues.

Happy to be out of the stressful environment and accessing trestment now.



Thank you all for the input. As Charlotte mentioned I guess we all are predisposed to RA and some conditions trigger the symptoms. It is quiet frustrating to know that nothing much can be done without the onset of symptoms. I just hope my little sister stays healthy.

Hope we all stay stress free and symptom free ( hope that's not too much to ask for)



You may also like...