Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Arthritis - Early Symptoms and Signs

What were your symptoms and signs at the onset of your rheumatoid arthritis?

Comment from: MICHIGAN, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 11

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia first and the doctors knew something else was wrong but could not pinpoint it and I was just depressed. Finally I found a wonderful rheumatologist that confirmed the fibromyalgia but also seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. This point took almost 4 years to get to. I am on Plaquenil and ibuprofen (which I have to limit due to blood pressure). I experience joint pain, redness, swelling (which I can tell is fluid), and lately the stiffness has been more noticeable but not when I first wake up. I am more concerned with the eye blurriness that I have been experiencing. That"s on top of everything from restless legs to IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and skin issues from the fibromyalgia. They just confirmed that my RA level is moderate but I do not want to start the intravenous medications and I am sensitive to others (allergic to Celebrex).

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Comment from: sassyb, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 19

I think I may have had this for years. It started with soreness and stiffness in my fingers and I noticed my longest fingers were slightly bent too. I thought it was just growing older and didn't associate it with flu like symptoms that I was getting and general tiredness that wouldn't improve. I went to my general physician many times to have blood tests and was found to have low thyroid function and low iron. I thought the problem was solved but realized that the RA (rheumatoid arthritis) had attacked my thyroid too. I have been recently diagnosed and feel at last I have an answer.

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Comment from: Tracy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

I had just been through some severe personal life changes that happened back to back throughout the past year. My depression had increased as expected and my doctor related my symptoms to that so it took longer to find the true diagnosis. I would wake up in the morning just bone tired. The fatigue was there constantly and was life altering. My knees felt like if I attempted squatting, they would literally explode. It hurt my knuckles to knock on a door. The summer prior I was mountain biking and was very active. My son who was also very active often in the woods, was diagnosed with Lyme disease. 1 month later I started having those symptoms also and although the Western Blot was unequivocal it showed I did recently have parvovirus. The next summer, almost to the day I started having some of the same symptoms again and then it was clarified as RA (rheumatoid arthritis). I have read studies that parvovirus could be linked to RA and also that an extremely stressful event could be linked to RA. I guess I have both of those risk factors. I am now taking Plaquenil. That has made a big difference but I'm not in remission yet. Can't say that I look forward to our life together but it is what you make it. I am told now that it is a mild case, I hope that is as far as we go together.

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Comment from: Tria, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: December 05

I have had no diagnosis as yet and the rheumatologist appointment is still 2 months away. Initial symptoms have been neck pain, left ankle and elbow inflammation, then both hips began to be sore although left appears to be the worst. The knees hurt also, left being the worst; my hands are also stiff first thing in the morning but are good once I use them, although they feel what I call grisly all day. I tried to continue with aerobics for a while and although it did not hurt when doing the aerobics, it was painful the next day. I have not experienced fatigue and I do not feel my joints are stiff, only my hands. My chest also feels strange and makes me feel 'blah'. I have thought if it is rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, blood tests to date have proved negative to both. But it may be some other form of arthritis but am not very happy I can no longer go to the gym as the pain the next day is too much, life sucks at the moment. Diagnosis takes too long due to long waiting lists for appointments. So far it has taken over six months to get to this stage as I think due to some stressful situations in my life six months ago; the doctors I believe thought it was due to depression and anxiety.

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Comment from: Kate, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 21

I had a deer tick bite with rash, went to the doc and was given 1 week of amoxycycline. One month later, I was back at the doctor's with pain in my feet, one shoulder, and one finger. I was treated with 1 month of doxycycline. I got better, then worse. I was diagnosed with RA (rheumatoid arthritis) in mid-October. Did the Lyme cause RA? No one can/will say! By October my entire body felt swollen, in severe pain all over; very swollen legs/feet and hands. I am using a walker. I have fatigue and loss of appetite, and I am not able to sleep well.

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