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Avatar universal

could it be arthritis at 16?

I am a sixteen year old female, within the last few weeks i have been having seemingly random joint pain particularly in my fingers and top on the hand. Yesterday i begun to get an ache in my right hand followed by a similar ache in my left hand, shortly after my left thumb suddenly had what i assume is a cramp and it became locked in a straight tense position inwards against my palm, it was stuck like this for about 5 minutes when it then "unlocked" itself and just left my thumb feeling slightly stiff. Later that evening i begun having pain on the left upper side of my chest. it was not a constant pain , It hurt when i breathed deeply, stretched, and particularly hurt when i would turn my upper body to the side. The pain is still one day later continuing as well as aches in my hand and fingers, After doing some online research the only possibility i could come up with is rheumatoid arthritis which can cause pleurisy, arthritis does run in my family & the pleurisy would explain this chest pain. I am not self diagnosing, Just hoping for some guidance as i do realize arthritis isn't common at the age of 16.
Hope you can help with any suggestions,
Thank you.
3 Responses
7721494 tn?1431627964
Chloe, thank you for writing.

Yes, it is possible to have rheumatoid arthritis at age 16, however, it is not likely.

Most arthritis victims discover their disease at age 50 or above.

And of most importance, arthritis sufferers have a history of arthritis in the family. This is a hereditary disease.

Pleurisy associated with rheumatoid arthritis is occurs in severe cases and only in the advanced stages of the disease. You are not old enough to have developed pleurisy from RA.

A simple answer to your question is to see your doctor for an examination and blood test.

Let me finish with an observation. Often, when we suffer unexpected and misunderstood symptoms, we become hyper-aware of the small pains, ticks, twitches, and other somatic phenomena that are normally below our awareness level.  This hyper-awareness can cause anxiety, which in turn causes more somatic phenomena.

It is a cycle of worry that can spiral into a serious syndrome known as a psychosomatic or somatiform disorder.

Often these symptoms and cycles are related to social or psychological events that we've experienced recently. At your age, some may call these symptoms "growing pains." There may be other explanations.

From the detail that you expose in your post, I believe with certainty that your pain is very real, but I suspect that your related somatic experiences may be due to the hyper-awareness and anxiety cycle I've related.

Thus, for you at 16, it may be best to talk with your parents about seeing a physician for an annual physical. Everyone should have an annual physical, whether they're sick or perfectly healthy. While you're alone with your doctor in complete privacy, mention your worries about arthritis, and let her help resolve your fears by making the proper tests.  

If there is something going on that needs treatment, then by all means follow through. But if you come out with a clean bill of health, I suggest that you to limit your concerns to those of a normal and healthy 16 year old girl.

You are welcome to visit us anytime for questions and specific answers. I can generally be found at the pain forum, and only visit here occasionally.

Best wishes.
Avatar universal
thank you very much for your answer, i went to the doctors and had numerous tests done, all of which came back normal apart from one thing which is i have moderately low potassium in my blood so i am starting potassium supplement pills &  hopefully this will be the answer to my seemingly random pain and cramps.
7721494 tn?1431627964
Any electrolyte imbalance can cause cramping and potassium (what doctors call K), is an electrolyte.

I hope the potassium puts you in the pink again.

Best wishes.
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