First hospital Appointment

My GP suspects that I might have RA and I have my first appointment at the Hospital in two weeks time. I was perfectly OK up until just before Christmas except for painful knees if I sat for any length of time. I have some pain in my hands but finding it difficult to walk due to stiff knees.

can anybody tell me what sort of timeline there might be for treatment ie will it start straight away and how long will it take to kick in? I feel ok in myself though I have not been sleeping too well and sweat slightly at night. I have also noticed that my pulse rate is raised.

Any information as to what might happen at this first appointment would be appreciated. I am due to go on holiday two weeks later so am in a quandry as to whether to cancel or not. Have decided to wait until the appointment as not insured until it is diagnosed.

I am 67 and also have a lung disorder.

5 Replies

Sincerely hope it's something else but if RD, i had diagnosis and then prescription day before due to go on hols 😒 I asked if i should delay start (methotrexate) till after holiday, specialist nurse said good idea, she was right! Also if on same you need fortnightly blood tests at start. I wouldn't miss initial appointment, it's usually second with nurse you get prescription on. They gave me long lasting steroid injection at first appt too, which would help with pain, if you get flare on hols. Good luck. Enjoy yr holiday.

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Thank You for your reply. delaying treatment for a couple of weeks seems a good idea. Hopefully a steroid injection will enable me to walk better. The knee problem could be the result of an old injury as was told I would need a new one in 1982!

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First off welcome, and I hope for your sake it turns out to be something temporary. But if it isn't and you do have an inflammatory arthritis then these days it is much better treated and managed.

There is useful information about being diagnosed on the NRAS site, here

And generally stick to reputable website like NRAS if you want to google. There are lots of dreadful sites that will scare you needlessly.

For your appointment, you'll be examined (best underwear and clothing easy to remove advised), possibly sent for more blood tests and x-rays depending on what your GP has already done. Note down a time line and symptoms so you have that to hand, plus photos of swollen joints if these tend to come and go. Also any questions you have.

If your symptoms, blood results etc point to a clear conclusion it may well be suggested that you start treatment as soon as lung x-ray is done & ok. Although your lung disorder may restrict what treatment can be offered. For others where things are muddier, it can take several appointments.

Personally I wouldn't cancel your holiday....a few weeks delay I'm starting any treatment may not be critical.


Thank You for your reply. Sorry for the delay but I thought I had replied. I am hoping that they will be able to give me an injection in my knee so that I can go on holiday as at the moment I am finding it very difficult to walk and my knee stiffens up when i sit down even for a short time.



I saw the consultant for the first time. She is pretty sure it is RA so has got me started on medication. As I am due to go on holiday has put me on Hydroxychloroquine as no blood tests needed. They will then put me on Sulfasalazine when I get back. I have also been given a months course of steroids which have done wonders, so am now feeling so much more positive about the holiday.

How long will these steroids be effective as a general rule?

I have been so impressed with the care I am being given at my local Rheumatology department. Consultant appointment, blood tests, medication, MRI scan, date for follow up appointment all within a couple of days- making me feel so much better. Off next Friday to hopefully enjoy my holiday.


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