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bloody doctors

just recived my letter from the rhumy from my last visit in febuary. when i went to the hosp he said i was fine and all my blood test came back fine. well just read the letter and it says i have a postive rheumatoid factor but he wrote it must be a red herring. am serious fed up with him the tests are saying i am and he is saying im not well let him have the pain then. help what should i do???

9 Replies

I wonder what he means by 'red herring' would have though posutive RA factor means you have RA???

Maybe seek a second opinion, sounds a bit odd, I think you deserve an explanation, ring him and ask to have a chat?

Am I missing something? Ask your GP?



Having positive rheumatoid factor doesn't mean you have ra as healthy people can have this. I know what you're going through as I'm in exactly the same predicament as you. Before Christmas I was told by the rheumy that I didn't have ra despite a positive result. I've gone to another rheumy for a second opinion and am awaiting further tests. I think you should do what I have and go back to your GP and request a second opinion. Has the rheumy not said what he thinks is causing your pain? Mine thought it was carpal tunnel linked to my underactive thyroid and I seriously hope he is right.


Hi Emma,

I think Paula's right you need to get a second opinion. I had the same thing happen to me first time I saw my rheumy only he was far more pleasant and didn't dismiss me - just said inconclusive. At the time I was coming off steroids and he thought that could be masking it. He said low positive R factor of 24 wasn't enough. It is probably a case for both you and Paula that he is going by the anti-CCP test result - which is more specific to RA if it's positive then it makes it much more likely that you have RA. But mine was negative so he wrote to my GP saying on this basis he was unlikely to diagnose me with RA or put me on MTX when I saw him in November.

So I took photos of my hands and knees whenever they were swollen and sent them to him via the physio who is the nearest thing to a rheumy nurse here - with a description of my symptoms. This meant that when I saw him in November he had already seen the photos and knew from her that I'd had a lot of pain in my joints so when he saw me (and luckily i was bad on the day) he diagnosed sero-negative RA. I asked him what about the Rheumatoid factor being positive and he said "Good point but it doesn't really matter - the symptoms of inflammation are there and for now we will call this RA and treat it as such" so hang in there. I now feel very lucky to have had a more sympathetic rheumy than either of you encountered. But Paula is right to say that it would be much better if it was something else of course and you do need to know if not RA then what is this? TTx


What we all need is a doctor who has ra and then he knows what we are going through. Sadly that won't happen.I saw my ot yesterday and she has joined nras. She could see i was in a flare. She said that even she couldn't feel what we are going through. She could understand and empathise but not knowing what pain we are suffering thats as far as could see. She was wonderful with me,so much so she is going to try and get me some gloves and we are going to try them.

So go for a second opinion,i had to for my knee and i am now waiting for a date to go in and have it redone.




Sorry to hear to hear you're having such a terrible time. Pauly is right a positive Rheumatoid Factor does not automatically mean R.A. as it can be triggered by a host of other factors including stress, which given the pain and discomfort you're in I imagine is fairly high.

I would however suggest seeing your doctor and asking what they think it is, because you're not in pain for no reason and really need to get to the bottom of it. I changed my GP because I didn't feel happy with some of the things he told me, I've been very fortunate that my rheumatologist has been great though.

There are other tests they do for RA once a positive RF comes back so enquire as to whether you have had or are getting these. What's next step etc...

Good luck x


Hi, it sounds a bit cruel of your consultant to dismiss you so quickly and send such a blunt letter. I agree with all the other comments go back to your GP take the letter with him and tell him you need it explained properly as you don't understand what the consultant is getting at. He'll read the letter and explain what your consultant means by 'red herring' also, he can refer you for a second opinion.

I recently got a very blunt letter from my cardiologist which sent me into a panic and really stressed me out, I went to see my regular GP and he calmly read the letter out explaining what each statement meant. His calm words then made me realise the situation wasn't as bad as I'd first thought and totally reassured me.

Please see your GP for an explanation and referral for 2nd opinion.

Beth xx


It is frustrating when supposed Rheumy drs dimsmiss signs & symptons!

Fortunately my Rheummy is good & listens to me & can see from my joints that they are inflammed.

My bloods are always negative but her says that doesn't matter as he can see that I have inflammatory arthritis.

I did go & see another rheummy when I ran out for private funding who said that I couldn't possibly have both forms even though he'd got the reports from the Prof of Rheummatology! I didn't go back to see him again!


my bloods are always negative but the dr i see can see how much pain i am in and i have had x-rays, ultra sounds and a mri which have confirmed that i do have ra. my dr say ra is not just bloods that tells them but other factors. i have seen one dr who was very of hand and dissmissive because i had a negative result, while at that appointment he wanted to discharge me from the clinic , he went to check with the consultant who came and spoke to me and read my notes and told the other dr i was not to be discharged. i would ask your gp to get u a second oponion


Hi It took me 6 mths before I found out, thought I was going out my head , the pain was unbearable, I asked my GP for X-ray on hands, finally on 3rd week on Methotrexate , just finished prednisone. You know your own body and pain you in, need to have more tests . Good luck Sandie .


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