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Date: 09.09.2011
From: Marg

Subject: Arthritis

I posted a while back thinking I might have RA, i have had bloods done again and i am awaiting the results. The pain in my feet and ankles has got worse and now it has started in my hands fingers and wrists, it takes me over an hour in a morning just to get going. What I wish to ask is if my results come back normal again which my GP is confident they will because I did not have a raised temperature when I saw him, can I ask to see a specialist, or will I have to go private.Any advice appreciated.
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Date: 10.09.2011
From: mads

Subject: Re: Arthritis

Hello Marg
Getting diagnosed is hard at the beginning because the symptons are sporadic and it is just that bit more difficult if your bloods are not positive but because of where the pain is and if there is visible inflammation your GP may refer you to a rheumatologist regardless of the blood results.

I have never been told that a raised temperature is part of the diagnosis.

My GP referred me before my blood results came back but she is fantastic and i probably saw 15 before that who didn't take me seriously so i know that i am lucky to have her.

As far as i know you cannot self refer to a rheumatologist - it has to go through the GP but you could go private for a consultation.

Good luck
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Date: 10.09.2011
From: Dilizjo

Subject: Re: Arthritis

Hi Marg, sorry to hear you are having the same problem as I had, I went to GP for years with RA symptoms to be told no I didn't have my bloods came back with just a slightly raised ESR. I spent hours trawling the net researching my symptoms and everytime the results shouted RA back at me. It took for me to almost crawl into the surgery and see a different doctor who referred me straight away to the rheumatology dept, who took bloods and before they came back said they were sure I had RA. 4 weeks later I was diagnosed with Seropositive RA, when I asked the Rheumatologist why my bloods were normal when my GP did them he told me there was a test they did that GPs didn't have available to them. So I can fully empathise with you.
On your next visit to the GP ask to be referred to a specialist as you have the right to do this. Try and take someone with you who knows you and how your condition is affecting you, they may be able to mention some issues that you forget to. If you can't take someone it is a good idea to write a list of anything however insignificant you may think it is and take it with you, go through it with the GP item by item and let him know in no uncertain terms that you are not stupid.
No a raised temp is nothing to do with diagnosing RA at all, the swollen joints can feel warm to touch and look red in colour but overall temp is normal. I would ask your GP what knowledge they have regarding RA if I were you. You can get raised temperatures caused by RA as we are liable to contract infections easily but we don't have them constantly.
Please take care and keep us updated xx
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Date: 10.09.2011
From: bsk

Subject: Re: Arthritis

As you may know, you could have Sero negative arthritis. If this is the case, you will have no Rheumatoid factor in your blood. However, other things like ESR and CRP can be raised. But they don't have to be through the roof - mine were quite low but I could walk! Insist on a referral or go and see another GP. Good luck.

p.s. temperature has got nothing to do with it, though I had 'flu' symptoms for months and a very slight raised temperature, it is not the case for everyone.
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Date: 11.09.2011
From: willis

Subject: Re: Arthritis

Hi have to disagree with bsk regards no RA in blood. If was diagnosed with Sero negative RA in Feb and my readings were off the scale, so i would say is every one is different. if they come back negative and doc says nothing showing, ask for referral anyway as given your symptoms there is obviously something not quite right even if it's something other than RA.
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Date: 11.09.2011
From: bsk

Subject: Re: Arthritis

I said 'mine were quite low' - I'm not talking for everyone here!! It's not a matter of right or wrong. Everyone is different. However, I made a mistake in my post when I said I COULD walk, I meant to say couldn't. In fact, my arthritis was so severe I was admitted to hospital for 10 days but my readings were relatively low, i.e. not sky high but not normal either. I wasn't diagnosed with Sero-negative inflammatory arthritis for six months and another year before they decided it was rheumatoid.

If you are sero-negative you do NOT have the rheumatoid factor in your blood (hence the 'negative')but you can still have RA. About 20% of people with RA have no RF in their blood. If you do have the rheumatoid factor and you have other symptoms, you clearly have RA. It is not so clear cut with some people with sero-negative. Please note, Willis, I said 'some people'.
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Date: 11.09.2011
From: Marg

Subject: Re: Arthritis

Thanks for your replies, I took somebody with me the last time I saw my GP, as for the raised temp he said that it is nearly always raised in cases of RA, he did agree that my fingers and hands where swollen. will wait and see what blood test reveals. If need be will save up and go private, but that will take a while.
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Date: 11.09.2011
From: willis

Subject: Re: Arthritis

bsk i didn't mean to rile you so my apologies to to you. and isn't this the whole point, we all have some sort of illness but no two are the same in any way at all, that would be too easy for the medics to pigeon hole. i hope you are well or are feeling better soon xxxx
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Date: 11.09.2011
From: bsk

Subject: Re: Arthritis

Apology accepted (and appreciated!) Willis - sorry if I went on the defensive just a little bit :)
xx
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Date: 17.09.2011
From: Marg

Subject: Re: Arthritis

Well been back to doctors for my blood test results to be told all normal. Asked to be refered to a specialist but was told no need.If i am still in pain to go back. I have made an appointment with a different doctor, see i go on with this one.
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Date: 17.09.2011
From: bsk

Subject: Re: Arthritis

Sorry to hear that Marg, it is very disappointing when you are suffering to be told there is nothing wrong. I hope the next doctor is better. If not, would you consider having a private consultation? I generally don't agree with private health care but sometimes needs must. You don't have to have treatment, just get a diagnosis and get referred back to NHS consultant. I know a couple of people who have done this.
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Date: 18.09.2011
From: Dilizjo

Subject: Re: Arthritis

Hi Marge,
I am so sorry that your GP is being so single minded about this and can empathize with you fully as I have said I had the same problem. Hopefully as bsk said the new GP will be a little more open minded and actually hear what you are saying. Let them know you are aware of RA suffers that constantly got normal bloods back, but were still referred and on further investigation were diagnosed with RA.
Please keep us up with what happens and I will ask my rheumy what the test was that they did to finally diagnose mine and let you know.
take care and thinking of you xx
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Date: 18.09.2011
From: marlene

Subject: Re: Arthritis

Hi Marge, you just keep knocking on those doors until you are satisfied with your diagnoses. Your GP should have your best interests first.My bloods have always been normal, so what, i still have painful OA and other problems so a negative blood test means nothing sometimes. Tell your GP you need further test for your own peace of mind.I hope when you see this new gp they listen, be straight talking, tell them you need a rhumy appointment to investigate. I hope all goes well,keep us posted. Take Care
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