is it RA?: I've just signed up today. I have been... - NRAS


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is it RA?

winnie27 profile image

I've just signed up today. I have been unwell for a while. I had carpel tunnel release on both hands last year and i thought that was all that was wrong with me. Since then my grip is better but symptoms have started in other areas. My RF is negative but CRP is 28 and ESR is 34 (i think that's right). Was due to go to see Rheum. in February but my GP has managed to get me seen sooner as i can hardly stay awake at the moment. I am constantly tired and feel generally unwell. I am apparently going to clinic to start treatment on Monday. Does this mean i have RA?

11 Replies

Hello Winnie and welcome.

I am sorry you are unwell and struggling, but really pleased you have been referred to a rheumatologist. Diagnosis of RA/inflammatory arthritis is not always straightforward and blood test results alone are not sufficient for a diagnosis. The rheumatologist is the only person who can confirm whether or not you have (or are likely to have) RA or inflammatory arthritis of some kind and investigations can take some time. So I think it is unlikely that you will be starting treatment at your first appointment. My guess is that it is more likely to be an appointment to discuss your symptoms, possibly to take more blood for further tests and maybe to have x-rays - usually hands and feet to start with. Sometimes they will also arrange for a scan to look for inflammation but I don't know much about this because such scans were not routinely used when my RA was diagnosed a good few years ago. Depending on your particular symptoms at the time of your appointment, it may be that you will be offered a general steroid injection to see if it helps you to feel better, and perhaps given some advice about suitable anti-inflammatories or pain meds to discuss with your GP while investigations are ongoing.

I am really pleased that your appointment has been brought forward and I really hope it is a helpful appointment.

Thinking of you.

Tilly x

winnie27 profile image
winnie27 in reply to Tillytop

Hi Everyone, thank you so much for your replies. I don't think i was making much sense yesterday when i posted!! this will be my 4th visit to Rheumatology. In December i saw a consultant at clinic rather than a GP with special interest in Rheumatology and he gave me a steroid injection in my bottom to help reduce inflammation. He said i am a difficult case because there is no obvious mass swelling in one joint as i have pain in my fands, wrists, upper arms and knees. He requested repeat bloods in January and i was to see him in February, but i have been feeling so poorly i went back to GP. This is why i am being seen Monday. The results of my recent bloods are back but i don't know what they are. When rheumatology ciinic phoned with new appointment they said it was with a sister and that it would be to start treatment. I just don't know if that means they are or already have made a diagnosis and feel confused and a bit scared to be honest.

Hi Winnie 27 and welcome to the site!!!!! I haven't been on here recently but you'll find friends who understand how you're feeling.I know there are lots of different types of arthritis, and you'll probably have tests to find out which one you've got. Do you mind if i ask what treatment they are starting you on? Hope you feel better soon.x

winnie27 profile image
winnie27 in reply to optomistic


I have absoluteky no idea!!

I just got a call from the clinic asking me to go in on Monday to see the nurse to commence treatment. I am guessing that due to me bing poorly and perhaps the latest blood results they have reached a diagnosis, but forgot to tell me. This has been ongoing now since this time last year but because of the carpel tunnell it has been a case of illimination before getting to the root cause.

Lorraine x

Hello and glad u r on the site. It's good that your GP is caring and sending you to a specialist. As the others here have said most consultants will on your first appointment ask about what your problems are,ask what other illnesses you have and what medications you take. They also wanna know if there are family history of illnesses such as RA or psorisis.

Then they examine you as sometimes they see swelling that you may not see. Next they generally order tests such as blood tests, X-rays, scans .

But in general they give treatment to ease the pain and a general idea of what they think is wrong before they make the firm diagnosis with the tests.

Write down a list of questions cos believe me the time flies and I like to take someone as they often remember things that you forget lol !

So hope it goes well. And let us know what they say! And good luck, sending gentle hugs Axx

winnie27 profile image
winnie27 in reply to allanah


thanks for the kind words

Lorraine x

Yes, good to be seen as soon as possible. You don't have to have a positive RF factor to have RA, a lot of us are sero negative (me included..) so that's not a reliable test. There is another similar one, the anti-CCP, that is usually done by the consultants and not done by GP's which gives a better indication. Anyway, hope appointment goes well and you get answers of one sort or another. Polly

winnie27 profile image
winnie27 in reply to helixhelix

Hi Polly,

Thanks for yoour kind words x


Hiya I'm Shirley,well I would just like to say welcome, you are in good hands on this site, And there is friends on here who can give you great, I have been on this site since the end of July when i was Diagnosed by my GP, I had to wait until the 14th November for my first appointment, which was a very depressing time for me, But being able to chat to the lovely people on this site really helped, So i hope your visit goes well, And let us know how you get on.

Shirley X

Hi Winnie

Have responded to this on your other thread.

Kind regards


Sometimes they do start DMARD treatment even without a diagnosis. If you are feeling that bad, and there is any suspicion that it is inflammatory arthritis, then it would be worth them trying you on something. If it works, then its another clue to point to a diagnosis. I initially got given SSZ on that basis - doc wasn't sure it was inflammatory arthritis, but I needed some kind of treatment and he thought there was enough justification to try it. Unfortunately I had a reaction to it so couldn't continue and am back to square one.

I hope that whatever you are given does help you in some way and starts the process for you finding the right kind of drug treatment that works for you.

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