Anyone have RA at a young age?: I'm 26 and have had... - NRAS


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Anyone have RA at a young age?

Scuba-phil profile image

I'm 26 and have had reactive arthritis for 3 years, however over the last year it's been gettin a lot worse and the consultant said I may have fallen into the RA category now but time will tell.

I just wanted to know how people cope as I'm stil trying to work in a physical job and continue staying active and doing sports.

But it's all getting harder with regular flare ups

14 Replies

Hi I was diagnosed with RA at 22 years old and 6 weeks after having my 3rd child. It is very hard, for me i was working as a night care assistant and raising 3 children and keeping a house clean. You need to pace yourself as RA does take it out of you. Do a bit then rest for a bit, then do some more then rest, try and have plenty of breaks if you can. It can take a while to get it under control and adapt yourself to it. i had to give up my job after 5 years of diagnoses, which was hard as i didn't want the RA to beat me. You might have to cut down a bit on your sports and maybe a bit in work if you can. You need to listen to your body, if you are in pain you take a little rest or take it easier. Not much help but that is what i find.

Take care Dana

Hi, I was diagnosed with RA at 20 years old after having 3-4 years of problems, this is also possibly to be followed up with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I'm now in the final year of a teaching degree and so especially with experiences of being on teaching placements know where you are coming from. It's hard and I would be lying if I said I'd mastered it but pacing yourself is very important and as Dana says taking breaks is good too. I cope by making lists of tasks i have to complete and rating them as to how important they are. On a good day I might do all of them but some days it's good to feel that I can wipe on task of my list. Look after yourself, iona

Hi, my daughter was diagnosed with RA when only 15 years old. Many traumas followed as she grew up. I would suggest you take a look at her blogs on this site and be ready to be inspired! I know how difficult it has been for her, how it affected her Uni. life and then employment. There is light at the end of the tunnel once you have come to terms with the condition and worked out exactly how you are going to manage. Some life style choices have to be made, and what works for someone else may not be right for you - but with strength of character and determination you can still achieve what is important to you! Daughter is HOPALONGRIDER. Good luck!


Welcome to the site - its a really great place to talk to people who understand what you are going through.

I am 23, was diagnosed with RA at 21, I completely understand the difficulty with coping with work and everything else - I work as a waitress so it is extremely difficult, especially with being on my feet for hours (my knees affect me the most!) I've had to cut down the number of shifts, this was a personal choice, as this isn't something I want to be doing so am im the process of changing my career. That doesn't mean that this will happen for you, but like Dana says, make sure you rest when you can. But for me the worst part is the fatigue and not being able to do what I want - just simple things like meeting my friends for a drink (which I can't really do anymore!!) It is really frustrating, especially being diagnosed at a younger age, but I have to remember is that its my health - If I don't rest or cut down what im doing, I risk further joint damage that will effect me in the future. I hope this helps.

Also, you don't say if you are on any medication? I've found that since i've been on the meds I feel almost back to normal! I still have the odd flare, but it's nothing compared to how awful I felt before I stared the tablets!

If you ever need to talk feel free to message me,

Hope you feel a bit better soon,


Iv been on hydroxy but with help. Iv not long ago started sulphasalasine so I'm still waiting to see how it goes. But in the mean time pain killers anti inflammatory and steroid injections are gettin me through. I'm suffering mainly in my shoulders and fingers.

I'm my worst enemy because when I have a good day I feel ok an will do loads, but ill then suffer for days afterwards.

I'm also finding it difficult with friends as they can't see a physical injury and so think I'm faking an injury to why I can't go camping/golf/football/runs ect.

td09 profile image
td09 in reply to Scuba-phil

Hi, I started with sulphasalazine and I found it took about 6 weeks/2 months to really feel the benefits - so don't worry, i'm sure you'll feel better soon! I did exactly the same - regretted it afterwards! Have now learnt to pace myself or I'm still knackered a week later! I understand what you mean - my friends have never seen me when im having bad days, they are trying their best but still dont completely understand when I say I cant come! (they are better now from when I wss first diagnosed!) I think Christine is right - the understanding of RA comes with time, it will take a little while for them to get used to you not doing as much.

Hope the meds kick in soon,


My mum had the adult form (not the juvenile form) of RA from age 13. I had the first problems with spondyloarthritis around age 15 or 16, but I actually managed to get to 50ish before it became really limiting for me. Just because you get it young doesn't mean that it progressively gets worse, and there are many folk around who go long years with no significant problems. Mum wasn't wonderful about age 40, then her meds got changed and she was great right through to mid 70's and its only now in her 80s that things are going downhill rapidly again.

I had JRA from ages 2-7, then I went into a total remission. I was re-diagnosed at 16 after I got my wisdom teeth removed. When I was younger it was hard explaining to friends why I wasn't joining them in snowball fights & sports, etc, but over the years they have seen me at my worst & best and they seem to understand better now. Plus I have educated them over the years with the newest arthritis information available.

Good luck Phil,


Was diagnosed at 23, am now 39. In the interim have had two children (7 and 4) and aside from maternity have worked full-time. The drugs are a world away from 16yrs away and whilst you may have to be prepared to adgust how you do some things if you can hit upon the right combination of meds (thats easier said than done) it doesn't have to be doom and gloom. With your sports you may have to watch it as regards impact, swimming or low impact are better, Rumour has it that diet can affect (positively or negatively) but thats anecdotal rather than a science. Good luck and God bless. Linda

Thanks to everyone for their comments and best wishes.

I'm currently in the middle of a miserable weekend, not only am I on te 3rd of 5 12 hour shifts but for the first time both my knees have flared up causing a lot of issues. Added to this I was sick at work twice this morning. Not sure why but I can only guess due to the amount of tablets I had to take.

Considering I had a steroid injection less than a week ago I feel I'm on a big steep hill falling uncontrollably.

Also meant to ask, do people suffer from fatigue? Is this the mess or the RA?

How do you cope with it?

in reply to Scuba-phil

I think the short (and possibly unwelcome answer) re. fatigue is that most people eventually reconcile themselves to giving in to it to some extent. I think that might be the hardest pill to swallow at a young age. The question might be: where & how can you find more time to chill or sleep?

I was diagnosed in June and sometimes suffer from fatigue quite badly BUT lately I've had loads of energy quite often. I'm 56 so maybe you'd get an even better result if you were to take things more easy for a while?

lubash profile image
lubash in reply to Scuba-phil

Chronic fatique is common.Its important to slow down when you feel tired pushing too hard might make you feel worse.ask for help with tasks if you have close friends and family who understand.Dont despair bad days are there but they do pass.

Tke care

I was diagnosed a month ago aged 26. Had only been having symptoms for 6 weeks before diagnosis so it all came as a shock really but I know I'm lucky to be diagnosed and getting treatment early on in the disease's progression. Also it's sometimes good to get a diagnosis because my symptoms were getting rapidly worse by the day and I thought to myself, what on earth is going on. I'm halfway through a really tough Masters and I have an appt with Disability Services next week. I feel like a fraud because I'm feeling ok at the moment, but I can't take the risk of flare ups happening next year when I may be doing exams etc. I'm thinking it's better to be safe than sorry!

Am finding this forum really useful, hello to you all!

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