Auto immune and RA: Forgive me if it sounds like a daft... - NRAS

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Auto immune and RA

Forgive me if it sounds like a daft question but is there a difference between auto immune disease and Rheumatoid arthritis.

Am I right in thinking that auto immune disease is caused by an under active thyroid,

Im still getting my head around this- despite my diagnosis last June, I try to 'keep calm and carry on', like normal, but as we all know, when the pain strikes and the flairs hit- we cannot maintain this mantra

It does not help when I had to come off the Methatrexate-due to hair loss, the stiffness and pain have come on with a vengeance.

Now I take Sulfasalazine & Hydroxychloroquinne- but its not doing anything for me.

Sorry for rambling on...........x

9 Replies

Hi, nothing wrong with asking if we don't ask questions we never learn. RA is one of the many autoimmune disorders and it's not caused by under active thyroid though some people do have this too.

Once diagnosed it can take a long time to come to terms with the diagnosis, one thing you can't do is carry on as normal. You have to learn to pace yourself; rest, work and play in that order.

I've added a link which give info about the different auto-immune conditions.

Beth xx



Thank you xx

I have thyroid issues also- my consultant said that my condition was auto-immune. I wondered if all RA was auto -immune

My rheumy nurse blames my Thyroid, and my Endocrinologist blames my RA?

I blame myself for not been persistent with the doctor 7 years ago. The Arthritis test came back negative.

I will check out your link thank you

Caroline xx


Just because you come back negative doesn't mean you ain't got it.

There's other conditions such as Seronegative Spondyloathropies, which is what my doctor said for years, I've also got Enthesitis which causes pain at the sight where the ligaments and tendons attach to the bone, this causes unbearable pain at times.

It's all the same sort of treatment though and trial and error until they find one that suits you. xx


Hi Caroline. I too have hypothyroid but have never thought much about it except that I was aware that both are autoimmune conditions. My rheumy said that "it doesn't matter too much what name we give these things - what matters is how we treat them" - but then he said we would call mine "sero-neg Rheumatoid Arthritis as a working diagnosis - but keep our minds open to this changing as things progressed" and really I'm none the wiser what he meant by this?!

I did point out to him that I had a positive rheumatoid factor - and to be fair he had just stepped off the plane for his two day consultation up here so probably hadn't had a chance to read through my notes properly. But actually I am sure he's right to point out that we can get overly hung up on the name we give our disease because it's such a huge spectrum and autoimmune inflammatory arthritis probably makes just as much sense - or just rheumatoid disease as my GPs both call it. I think the arthritis part can be misleading and only tonight I was having to explain to someone why my wrists were splinted - she hadn't a clue and nor have many people. I guess it only becomes relevant if it happens to you?! TTx


Hi Tilda,

You sound just like me- I too have the seronegative RA.

I await my OT and Physio appointment in four weeks, so I too am hoping for some kind of splint for my wrists- could do with a body splint as no area is pain free- do they do them? I wonder?

Coming off the Methatrexate has done me NO favour , only my hair loss is no where near severe, but I feel really off.

bright blessings......Caroline


Hi Reikimaster

There are no silly questions on here. None of this is obvious to anyone, so you don't know these things until you ask.

As others have said, there are many auto-immune conditions, and rheumatoid arthritis and some thyroid problems would be included in this. There could be a link, as it seems that when someone has one auto-immune condition they can be more susceptible to developing others.

An autoimmune disease basically means that the immune system starts attacking healthy tissue in the body, but will be attacking different tissue in the case of different diseases. In rheumatoid arthritis the area that the immune system is attacking is the 'synovial fluid' which is the area that lines the joints. Basically the immune system is mistakenly seeing this fluid as something bad in the body that it needs to fight, but clearly this is wrong, and it is not fully understood why the immune system does this.

I hope this helps in addition to the other answers you've been given.

Kind regards




Thank you for explaining this .

Yes I full understand now, I did not realise that it was the synovial fluid that was been attacked.

Am I right in thinking it damages heart, and other organs in the body?

Thanks Caroline x


Hi Caroline, my 15 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with RA,& Auto Immune Disease was mentioned by our something that had shown positive in her bloods...these blood test results took almost a month to get the results tho!!

I thought RA was there if the AI disease showed positive??

think I`ll ring Doc in the morn!!

hang in there, Ellie is swings & roundabouts at the mo & meds are really taking it out of her...heartbreaking & I feel so useless. x


Hi Northerner, My heart goes out to you xx

Any illness that affects your children is so not acceptable.

I do wish her a speedy recovery. You also X

You can be there for her, its so frustrating.

keep strong Caroline xxx


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