Have you gone to a doctor that is a specialist in RA? Some of these doctors don't care. I feel for you. You might have a combination of things going on.
Fitness Minutes: (10)
3/16/12 4:48 P
Everything is normal to aging. I can't believe the things that are falling apart on me. good luck "it's only just begun".
Fitness Minutes: (47,300)
2/6/12 12:50 P
I just want to say ditto to all of the below, and good luck! You are definitely on the right track with prescribing your own treatment when the doctors ignore your symptoms. You are the one in the body you carry around with you every day, so take charge and take care.
Fitness Minutes: (90)
2/6/12 12:44 P
The way you're describing is not normal for aging. And you're not even that old. If you don't have RA you could still have osteoarthritis or some other condition. Please go see another doctor. Hopefully one that treats you better than the one you're seeing now. You deserve better. You've got a lot of years left and you don't want to let your hands get any worse than you have to.
Fitness Minutes: (890)
18 2/5/12 8:59 P
RA is tough. Hate to bring this up but have you been tested for Lupus? My daughter's going through the same thing you are. She finally found someone to help. Know where? A pain specialist!!! See if you can get referred. Maybe it'll help!
Be well, Karen
Fitness Minutes: (1,402)
2/5/12 3:39 P
Karen, thank you.
I do think I'm going to have to push for an answer. I have copies of all the tests in a folder. My plan is to use the splints at night for six weeks (which is what is recommended for home treatment of carpal tunnel) and if that doesn't fix the problem (which I suspect it won't), then I have my folder and my notes and I can go back and press for a referral.
I've had indicators of an autoimmune disease in my blood work since my 30s, and the symptoms as well. The symptoms keep getting worse as I age, with periods of calm in between. Now, in my late 50s, there don't seem to be any periods of calm and the symptoms are much stronger and intrusive. Hopefully I will have lost significant weight by my next appointment and be near my normal BMI, if not at it, so I can get my cholesterol, sugar, and RH factor rechecked too.
Our medical system is very frustrating. It's expensive and no one listens. I'd say about 60% of the time the problem you go in for gets totally ignored. (I had to create my own treatment plan for my hands. The doctor didn't know and didn't seem to care.) Doctors usually run some tests, say wow I don't know, and that's it. Good for their wallets, not especially helpful for the patient. In the early 90s I had extensive testing for MS. The doc was sure I had it, but the tests said no, so she decided nothing was going on even though I had all the same problems. My wallet was a lot lighter though.
You're right, I'm going to have to be my own best advocate. Personally I think I may have RA and there are new diagnostic criteria that make early diagnosis easier. But wow, what a challenge to find the right person to get an accurate dx.
Edited by: PEEDIE22 at: 2/5/2012 (15:44)
Fitness Minutes: (890)
18 2/5/12 12:14 P
Oh honey, I'm sorry you're being treated this way. I worked in the medical field a long time before becoming disabled and it's so hard finding a good doctor. Depending on your insurance will depend on whether you can be referred to a rheumatologist. Even if your insurance doesn't require the referral, the rheumatologist will require one. The first thing I would do is get a copy of both tests and any medical records you feel are relevant. Then I'd talk to your friends and co-workers and find out who they think is a good doctor. You want someone who will take you seriously, someone who is kind and will take the time to talk with you and run more tests. Then see if that person is taking new patients. Keep going until you find someone! You might have to change doctors once or twice before finding someone who is good. Once you do and they run all the tests they can and have ruled out what they need to, then if a referral to a rheumatologist is appropriate it will happen. You have to be your own advocate. No one else can do it but you! RhA tests don't always show positive every time and your current doctor knows that. He/she is being lazy. Good luck and be well.
Fitness Minutes: (1,402)
2/5/12 10:37 A
I had to hem some things the other day, and I could barely do it. I'm 58 and will be 59 in March.
I've had issues with my hands for over a decade, but lately it's gotten lots worse. When I wake up in the morning my knuckles and joints are bright red and my hands are painful and/or numb all day. At night the numbness/pain is so bad it wakes me up so I've been wearing wrist splints at night, which helps with the waking up but during the day my hands still have reduced functionality.
My GP tested me for RA ands the RA factor test came back positive, but another blood test did not, so she said it's not RA and told me to get my cholesterol down. I'm not obese, but I could lose 20 pounds, which is why I'm here.
What bugs me is, I asked her about my hands and she just brushed it off and said my positive RA test wasn't "that big a deal" and left. OK, but that doesn't help me much.
Does anyone else have this problem? Is it just normal aging? I remember my grandmother complaining about her hands, but she was in her 70s at that time.