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653169 tn?1303449969

RA diagnoses

My initial blood test showed negative for RA,but I have all the signs and symptoms and am an orthopedic nurse so I have alot of knowledge, but of course don't know everything. My niece has RA and her initial blood work also came back negative, then later positive.
Has anyone else heard of RA blood test coming back negative, but patient was still found to be diagnosed with it. I have done extensive research and I fit all the criteria. My doc is treating me for Fibromyalgia too, but I have had notable, visible joint damage in joints esp. in hands and feet that I didn't think fibro could do. My knuckles are enlarged and misshaped in hands and feet. I also have seperation of some of my toes. I also have degeneration in lumbar and hips My research agrees that I would have RA vs. Osteoarthritis. even though my orig. blood test for RA was negative.
This is so frustrating. My doc wants to do the RA blood test again, but I am broke with no insurance and can barely afford meds I'm on. Would appreciate any input. Thanks in advance.
6 Responses
483733 tn?1326802046
Yes, auto-immune diseases like RA and Lupus can take time before the bloodwork shows positive.  What drugs are you on?  It is imperative you get on the proper drugs so that the RA is treated before you have any further permanent damage.  If you get the test again and still negative ask your doctor to see if he can start treatment for RA regardless.  The first line is generally Plaquenil and ibuprofen.  The Plaquenil can take several months before it starts working but if it starts working it will help him to finalize your diagnosis.
Avatar universal
My rheumatoid factor is negative, but finally got diagnosed with RA after the rheumatologist tested me for Cyclic Citrullinated Pep IgG.  Everyone was treating me for the fibro but I knew something else was going on.  After my wrist was bothering me, the dr. did the relatively new test.  

Cyclic Citrullinated Pep IgG is supposedly very specific for RA.  

For some reason, a lot of docs forget that not everyone tests positive for dx's even though they have it.  They have forgot the "art" part of medicine as more technology is readily available.  

Hope it helps,

653169 tn?1303449969
Thanks Karen. I will check which test he ordered exactly. For some reason, I am one of those people that have to be half dead before abnormalities show in my blood, but it is very obvious by the look of my joints that something has ravished them. All of my research points to RA and both docs I've seen agree, but your so correct about them forgetting to practice the "art" part of medicine. Some of it is because of the insurance companies (they don't want to pay for anything unless some test confirms the Dr.'s diagnoses.) Although, I have no insurance currently it still affects the way medicine is practiced. What a shame.

Thanks again, Karen
1091980 tn?1295545031
I have osteoarthritis in base of thumb which appears to have developed quickly. When it first began to bother me I also had aches in shoulders, ankles and my knees. Appart from the thumb problems the others subsided.
Now I have noticed that when I climb stairs. (Especially in the mornings) they make a crunching sound, although at the moment I would not say they are painful. My dr did a ra test a few months ago.
I am concerned that other joints will become affected. Is it osteoarthritis? Does it affect other joints. My left thumb is now starting to ache which I thought was due to my using it more than the other injured hand.
Thanks for any advice.
Avatar universal
It is hard for me to say if it is RA vs. osteo.  You will have the crunchies with osteoarthritis.  But since I have had RA in my thumbs, they have been crunchy/popping too (not the fingers though).  

I think one difference that might help you is:  RA usually affects both sides, where osteo may not.  (Ie:My fingers on both hands are affected by RA where as I only have osteoarthritis in my right knee not the left.)  Also, pain and stiffness in the morning is common with RA.  

I would lean more to RA if it develops quickly.  Osteo is more of a wear and tare process.  RA is an autoimmune disease and is systemic

Hope you feel better soon,
1091980 tn?1295545031
Thanks for  your advice.
My dr is sure that it is osteoarthritis and knees cracking are not a problem.
I will attend the hospital shortly and let them know about the other thumb problems.
Kind regards
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