Do I have RA

For the past 2 years I've had joint pain in both wrists and all my fingers, to start with it was more so just annoying and not that bad but the doctor took bloods and made a referral to the rheumatologist due to my gran having ra,fibro, spondylitis and my auntie having fibro but my blood tests came back fine I didn't have a high rheumatoid factor, so I didn't go to my hospital appointment as I thought I was just being silly anyways fast forward a year the pain has gotten worse it's in my elbows and ankles and feet now so I went back to the doctors they referred me to the rheumatologist again took more bloods which there still fine my appointment is on Tuesday and I'm really nervous bout going and there's actually nothing wrong with me I get the stiffness in the morning but the painful joints don't go red? I have other symptoms such as fatigue, low sex drive, low iron every now and then also. it's so frustrating as on a bad day I struggle to take my kids to and from nursery, and lift my youngest who is 7 months and even silly things like opening tins and using a knife 😞Anyways it's the fact my joints don't go red and I don't have a high rheumatoid factor that's making me feel like I'm being silly 😕

14 Replies

  • Plenty of people with RA don't have a high rheumatoid factor. I am not among them. Go to the appointment, write down all your symptoms and questions. Write down what they say. Here's hoping for the best.

  • Thank you jacqui I never knew that I thought you had to have a rheumatoid factor I'm deffinetly going to the appointment as I'm really struggling with it my ankles are so bad I somedays I don't want to get out of bed but hey with a toddler and baby that never happens lol x

  • Please do go to this Rheumy appointment Amy, don't think you're wasting anyone's time. It's true that the people without RD can have rheumatoid factor in their blood but you're having other symptoms & have had for a while now, plus your genetics aren't the best are they?! My nan also had RD although neither mum or dad did. Inflammation doesn't always show as redness either, though morning stiffness, joint pain & fatigue are all signs there's something going on.

    Back to rheumatoid factor, a low or even negative RF result doesn't necessarily mean you don't have RD, there's more to it than that. If your GP didn't do it the anti-CCP blood test is more reliable (if RF is on the low side, i.e. seronegative) & should be done by your Rheumy along with clinical assessment & basic imaging of hands & feet usually. Once those are done your Rheumy should be able to make a firm diagnosis.

    If possible take someone with you Tuesday, it helps particularly if you receive a diagnosis, things tend to fly out of your head when you hear the words & it would be helpful to go over the appointment with someone, they might remember some of the things you don't. Do let us know how it went won't you?

  • Lots of people don't have the rheumatoid factor but still have the disease - it's called being sero-negative. There is another blood test, called anti-CCP, which the rheumatologist does and which is a bit more sensitive. But even so, you can be negative for that too and still have the disease.

    And you're not being silly at all. The rheumatologist should be pleased to see patients early, before the disease has really gone wild, as it should be easier to treat and have better results. Far better that than waiting several more years until you are in loads of pain and potentially have damaged joints, and are much more difficult to treat.

  • I had this a couple of years ago and was referred, early RA, treatment began and now in remission. No swelling or pain just the odd moments of fatigue but hey, getting older anyway. So keep the next appointment as early treatment is vital for the best treatment. It may seem silly but honestly its not, I just had odd pains in the fingers and knuckles, a lot of fatigue and sore feet. Good luck and keep a diary its easy to forget how much areas can hurt ! xx

  • If your GP has decided to refer you then I would suggest you respect their advice! And let us know how it goes. Lots of good advice from others on this site, so will keep this brief.

  • Yes keep your appt and let us know how you got on , my bloods were all fine and I have RA and OA and an on a Bisomar now (Benepali)

  • I was lucky enough to get a quick diagnosis and early treatment, many years ago now. Each flare up I have had aggressive treatment and I think that has contributed to my relative lack of joint damage despite the length of time I have had RD.

  • I had no RF and negative for anti-ccp, but have Psoriatic Arthritis (with no skin component) These diseases can present in lots of ways. My feet are the worst too, followed by knee, elbow and both wrists.

    I would keep the appointment as it sounds as though there is something going on. Good luck!

  • Hi Amy

    When I was finally diagnosed with psoriatic Arthritis it was a blessing because I, like you, had aches and pains and one swollen finger. I was sent by my G P after they had tried me on antibiotics for 6 months thinking the swelling was an infection. It then took 10 months to find what kind of Arthritis and then which drugs I could take.

    Go to your appointment and ask as many questions as you need and take as long as YOU need. You will get answers, not always the ones you want or need. Perceive. It will get better for you once everything is sorted out. You'll probably get fed up and want to scream at times. Go ahead it helps with the frustration you'll feel. Good luck. Hope your nurse and consultant are good to you.

  • Nope - RA Factor is just one piece of the puzzle. It is called sero-negative when you have RA but no high factor. Please keep your appointment. I ignored mine for 4 years and treated it with herbs. That was pretty good until multiple stressors piled up on me all at once, and I started to spiral down. Please remember that you will most likely not go into spontaneous remission with this condition, and over time you will continue to get worse. It could also be other things too..

  • I didn't have high RA factor as well, but my rheumy diognised me with psoriatic arthritis . You should have a read up on this type of arthritis. All fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, achilies, ankles and feet are effected.

  • I had my bloods checked by Gp 3 times and they all came back normal - I was getting so bad - ended up one week in A&E one night in agony had to have a wrist support and was told it was arthiritis - the relief I actually had a title to my pain 😬 I then insisted my GP referred me to see a Rheumatologist - it was the Rheumatologist that checked my anti ccp level and that was through the roof - I have been finally diagnosed with aggressive RA😡😡 why did the GP not check this? Grrrrr funding I bet? Any way on a huge amount of drugs but the pain has improved ten fold 💊💊Hope this helps X Good luck and big hugs 😘😘

  • Hi all sorry kind of burried my head in the sand last week after seeing the rheumatologist he was a load of crap he asked how I was that day I replied with today is a good day then asked me the whole story from start to finish of the pain and where it was, my family history and everything, I thought wow he's been really thorough anyway he then squeezed all of my painful joints then said I don't see anything wrong(like he can see my pain) so he sent me for X-rays and more bloods but all he said was if there was any sign of damage I'd be seen back at the clinic but if not then there's nothing wrong I was so taken back by what he said I never even said anything but now I'm angry cos how can I be in this much pain for 2 years and nothing be wrong waiting for my results then will go from there 🙁

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