What do you think about the reason of RA based on your own experience?

Hi, everyone. I recently feel swellness and a little pain of my little joints including almost all my fingers and wrist joints. And I feel stiffness of my hand in the morning. I con't believe I got RA myself. I work in a resturant and often wash dishes and contact cold water and meat. I think this is the only one reason which can explain why I got RA. Can you tell me about your experience of how you got this illness?

33 Replies

  • I have no idea why I have got RA, there is no definate reason as far as I know as to why you get it

  • I was told it's mostly bad luck although you can be pre disposed to it if auto immune disease is in the family or it may be triggered by injury or stress , but the answer is they really don't know , lucky us !

  • i believe it is stress related and the body turns on itself.

  • i was told RA is probably genetic. I thought my father had osteoarthritis but maybe it was RA. I suppose it was lying low in my body and perhaps brought on by the shock of the sudden death of my husband six months before? I thought the stiff joints were part of getting old so didn't take too much notice. Then I was struck down with the awful fever and fatigue. If you have symptoms please do see your GP and get tested so if you do have RA you can start medication before things get too bad. If I had gone earlier maybe I wouldn't have such distorted fingers and feet. xx

  • hi I also started very badly with ra six months after the death of my husband if shock started it will it pass as time goes on?

  • Agree. I wish they would have had Enbrel back in the day...

  • For me, hormones. Within 36 hours of stopping breast feeding I became completely immobile! Interesting question :)

  • My father has RA , when I was a tenager I had really bad pains in my knees but obviously everyone kept telling me its growing pains . Over the years had aches and pains thought like everyone else getting old , but then at the age of 42 I fell pregnant not planned , unfortunately I miscarried at 6 months and lost 3 pints of blood in emergency surgery , ever since I have been crippled with the chronic fatigue and loss of mobility in my joints , but my GP kept fobbing me off because my r factor was negative but I insisted on being referred after he couldnt explain my symptoms , low and behold I have RA , so im new to the meds and struggling with the side effects but they are making me more comfortable painwise .

  • I was diagnosed age 6 but probably had it some time and agree with Julie .... it's just bad luck and being predisposed to auto immune disease.

  • Hi

    I think you definitely have to be genetically predisposed to it & if you have one auto immune disease you tend to get others.

    I have Coeliacs which was well under control, but a few years on I now have dreadful dreadful aching of my joints in bed, even down to my toes & it takes a good half hour after getting up for it to disappear. For me, I am really hoping it is food related due to my gut barrier being compromised with something, which I should have a clearer clue on in the next few weeks & may have to go on the auto immune paleo diet, if not, I am dreading the thought that I can't manage it & have to go down the conventional drug route. Will keep you posted. To my mind, it is worth a try before it gets too bad.

  • For both me and for my sister, it was a respiratory infection that immediately preceded the start.

    She tested positive for a recurrence of whooping cough, then had persistent raised ESR and joint pain and swelling.

    I don't know what mine was apart from suddenly causing severe shortness of breath when I was out walking in the mountains and once I had struggled to a road, had to hitch a lift back to my car. After the chest infection settled I developed swollen painful joints.

  • My rheumy said (yrs ago when I was diagnosed) likely a combination of genetic pre-disposition, immune system hyper-triggered by something else and bad luck. If people ask I tend to say 'bad luck' -unless they are especially interested and I am willing to have a discussion about it! I talked more about the reasons when I was in my 20s and first ill, now at 42 I am more frustrated with what is wrong rather than the 'whys'. Interesting though.

  • Stress, stress and more stress. Volunteering is supposed to be good for you but after a bad experience I sometimes wonder!

  • Dear all

    Further to earlier answers, there is a lot of research currently going on into the cause of RA and new information is being discovered all the time. The NRAS website has a couple of good articles on both the genetic and non-genetic aspects of RA so do have a look at them if you would like to read about what current research is saying:


    If you have any further questions about the causes of RA, do get in touch with the Helpline team on 0800 298 7650 (weekdays 9.30am to 4.30pm).

    Kind regards


  • people of a certain age will remember the old big penny's. i can remember being a teenager and watching my wee granny trying to get them out of her purse with her twisted gnarled fingers. she was bed ridden and unable to walk. wish i had asked more questions......i'd say she had Rheumatoid Disease. i had just come out of the menopause at age 60 and i was diagnose within months of that. might be a link, maybe not. my consultant told me that there is no direct link as to why some people get it.....his way of say its just your bad luck!!

  • Mine was triggered by stress. My husband was in in ITU for 4 weeks and I had a 90 year old mother living with us and a job where all my contracts were given to someone else after I had 1 week compassionate leave. By the time my GP stopped telling ne just to take pain killers and get on with it and eventually sent me to a specialist ( went private as there was a 3 month waiting list and I was desperate). I have permanent joint damage.

    I could hardly believe it when at a recent NRAS group meeting the Specialist giving a Q&A lecture said that late referral was due to patients having no knowledge of RA and not seeking help early enough. When are GPs going to take some responsibility and actually learn about RA!

  • I got my RA on 1st January 2012. Our sewer at home was blocked and we tried drain rods to get it clear. On January 3rd I woke up in the morning but could not move as it seemed that every joint in my body had been attacked. Until that day I was as fit as a butchers dog. The rheumy said that I had most probably picked up a virus from the sewer which triggered off my immune system into thinking it had to respond. It took the best part of a year to get a proper diagnosis and have been taking the pills (mtx) ever since.

  • I was diagnosed at 21 with Palindromic rheumatism and told 30% chance it would progress to become a more serious rheumatoid disease lucky me I had progressed to RA within 2 years! Not that lucky when the odds are for more positive things! I had glandular fever when I was 14 and my mum believes that it is an off shoot of that. I think it is something you just have that awakens. I was very fit and active when I was younger but I can still remember the odd time that I had really bad pains in my knees from the age of about 9 which were brushed off as growing pains. I am now in my mid 40's and had a bilateral knee replacement 3 years ago as both my knees were bone on bone. Maybe those pains as a child were a warning of what was to come. I think it is just the luck of the draw unfortunately!

  • I think mine has been burning away on a low flame all my life but only flared up properly in my mid 40's. I've always had very dry skin and no stamina and would occasionally get a bad aching pain to the left of my sternum, I remember my mother taking me to the doctor with it when I was 12. I was always told it was muscular but any time I get a bad flare the same pain occurs. My feet started changing shape and occasionally hurting in my mid 30's, then my knees would go through phases of hurting. It just suddenly got a lot worse one winter three years ago and here I am. xx

  • I got RA when I was 27 back in 1985. I was going through a horrific divorce and the Dr.s said it was probably the stress of everything that brought it out. The gene is with my mom's step sister - on her dad's side...

  • Prolonged stress and bad luck. No one on either side of my family has ever had RA. :(

    Thinking back I did catch a random virus that gave me severe vertigo attacks & took all my energy just a few weeks before the onset of my symptoms..

  • As far back as my parent can remember nobody had RA. My sisters and brother don't have it either.

    I have gotten meningitis (viral) 4 times. Starting at 16 years old, and the last time was 5 years ago. I'm 53. I remember in my 30's having swollen hands, and cramping in my fingers. The las 3-4 years have been pure stress. Countless things happened.

    Then I for a pain in my wrist, few days later in my ankle and everyday was something new. I truly believe my RA is stress related. My personal opinion.

  • Interesting thread.......I believe my RA is partly genetic. Have a thyroid problem myself and thyroid/pernicious anaemia/polymyalgia in my close family. I am sure that if I delved a little further I would find evidence of other auto immune conditions in my more distant family. Trouble is we don't always know,and years ago many of the conditions possibly weren't even diagnosed. There are lots of auto immune conditions and the tendency to develop them does seems to be genetic. So I believe it must have been there, lying dormant or the potential to develop it was there, but I have no idea what triggered it to wake up on some random night last November. I wonder if I had some sort of virus that I wasn't aware of?

    I have had my share of stress through the years,(as we all have) but I'd had a few quiet years before all this and am generally quite a calm person.......so I don't think stress caused mine xx

  • I think my poor old mum had RA because she had a lot of stiffness and pain although she was never diagnosed. She also suffered hair loss. I think, therefore, that I may have inherited the gene from her. Also I lead a very stressful life due to my husband going totally blind during by pass surgery and he is very demanding and unable to fully accept his disability.

  • My heart really goes out to those of you who contacted RA when you were young. I do count myself fortunate that I didn't get it until I was nearly 70 yrs. Although I hate not being able to wear pretty shoes, which means pretty clothes [I live in trainers which are the most comfortable foot wear for me] I am thankful to be of an age when it doesn't really matter too much.... hard for you younger folk.

    Much love to you all out there! xxx

  • I got JRA from the MMR injection when I was 2. I woke up with it the next day & I had it for the next 6 or so years, then I went into remission. It came back worse when I was 16 & now I've had it for another 30 years.


  • Hi I have all of the above I am a care assistant my ra has been bad now for the past 9 months when they took me off of one medication and on to another which made it worse now on methatrexate and embrel injections and I do feel better but past few days not so good I have been of work for over a month and I don't feel like going back yet . What meds are you taking

  • I think looking for one specific reason is not going to get you there. I'd doubt it was cold water etc. but there again - who knows! It took me a while to work out that the word 'stress' can mean more than just feeling worn out and hyped up. It also means the stresses the body endures over a life time i.e. infections, pregnancy, ageing, menopause, surgery etc. etc. and most of us are subject to quite a few things like this. Some will get away with it but some of us don't and if we have a genetic predisposition then I suppose the disease will come along eventually regardless of our efforts to stay fit and healthy.

  • i think its genetic and stress or shock after anop or something limke that just lying there and something triggers

  • When I was 3 years old we camped from Florida to Alaska durning that summer I had a tick bite. Actually, it head was burrowed in my neck. Some man pulled it off, leaving the head in side. I was sick the whole summer. My mother said we went to different docs and hospitals. They all said it's just the flu. The other reason I think it from the tick is I got meningitis and encephalitis 4 times the last time was 5 years ago. I was always feeling sick but no doc found anything wrong with me

  • Probably genetic for me. As a child back in the 50's, I remember my grandfather spending most of his time in an armchair. When he did walk it was very slow and he shuffled his feet. The poor man must have been in a lot of pain.

    Can anyone tell what pain relief was available back then?

  • one word...STRESS....my dad was dying and my mother was dragging him to the "bus stop" to go shopping....

  • This is an interesting thread, still relevant though I can see it's a year old.

    I'm curious to see how many people say 'stress': I lived through an unbelievably stressful 9 months (my dad - who had RD - moving to live near me then dying; teenage son off the rails), then I developed symptoms 3 months later.

    I can remember trying to go for a walk with a friend, hobbling along, wondering what was wrong with me, and her suggesting it could be stress. I pointed out my stress was over, and she said "Yes, but maybe it's like how people often get ill when they stop work for a holiday..." The GP thought so too, and treated my symptoms as if they were 'just stress' for years. It's 4 years on from that, and I haven't had a pain-free day since, I've had a hip replacement, my hands and feet are deforming, I have systemic tendinopathy, and still no proper diagnosis... If stress is a trigger - and that seems likely to me - I think it can also be a sort of mask for our symptoms, delaying or confusing diagnosis.

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