Your symptoms do seem like they might be some kind of arthritis...but you will really need to be tested and examined to confirm.
Don't be scared---getting a diagnosis is the first step to figuring out what's wrong and getting treatment, which will hopefully stop the pain, or make it manageable!
I had finger and hand pain, and put off seeing a rheumatologist for some time (this is kind of a typical story!) but I finally did, got a diagnosis, and started a medication. It's only been three months, but I am significantly improved, with very little pain and swelling at this point.
Good luck---my advice is, if your PCP suspects any type of arthritis, get a referral to a rheumatologist. They are specialists and up to speed on the latest research, treatments, etc.View Thread
That is great news! As a former runner, let me just advise you to listen to your body, never run through pain, wear really supportive shoes (and replace them regularly---you may need to replace them sooner than you used to) and run on soft surfaces.
I am a big believer in physical therapy or working with a physical trainer for a couple sessions to get tips and techniques to strengthen your quads and glutes to minimize stress on your hip joint---before you start experiencing pain.
You might also look into taking fish oil and making other dietary modifications. An anti-inflammatory diet (you can check out Dr. Weil's on his website, and their are others along the same line) can also help ease or ward off symptoms, especially if your symptoms are mild.View Thread
Hi, and welcome. Sorry to hear about your recent diagnosis.
Are you seeing a rheumatologist? It's really important to see an arthritis specialist, because diagnosis can be tricky, and different forms of arthritis have different courses and treatments. A rheumatologist will do a complete blood work-up, which helps in making a proper diagnosis.
As far as the aggressiveness of the disease, it depends what type it is. If it is rheumatoid arthritis, the standard is to intervene early with medication, to prevent or slow down damage to the joints.
A rheumatologist can advise you on how to exercise safely, too, and whether running is OK. Exercise is really beneficial to keep your joints limber and strenthen your muscles; swimming is a great alternative to running.
I'm so sorry you are having such a rough time. You really have your hands full.
If your doctor is not sympathetic to your issues with the medication, I would strongly suggest that you find another rheumatologist who is more empathic and helpful. Finding the right medication can be a trial-and-error process; there are a lot of medication options out there and your doctor should be helping you find one that works and that you can also tolerate.
I know it's difficult and frustrating, but it's really worth trying again with another doc. RA meds can actually STOP or slow down the progression of disease, and if your fingers are deteriorating, you really want to get that under control as soon as possible...so you can continue to function at work and with your kids.
Another thing you can do is ask your doctor for a referral for some occupational therapy; you may be able to learn some simple exercises for strengthening your fingers and hands and helping maintain flexibility in those joints.
(I know---one more thing to do!)
And finally, I hope you are able to carve out some time for yourself to relax and de-stress...you do have an awful lot going on.
The really good news for you is that today there are many, many options to slow down or even halt the progression of the disease. These are called DMARDs---disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, and they have helped many people. And new drugs will continue to be developed...so it's highly likely that you will not suffer from the same limitations or have the same severity of the illness as your grandmother.
The medications seem to work differently for different people, so you may have to go through some trial and error to find what works for you.
If you are a runner, you must be in good physical condition, so that's a real plus...staying in shape and keeping your joints flexible and moving is very important. If you can't run, there are lots of alternatives, including water aerobics, that you can try.
My other advice is to keep a positive attitude and find a good doctor to work with. Don't be scared by the sometimes complicated and treatment-resistant cases you may read about on the Internet; many people are doing very well managing their RA and so they don't feel the need to post about it!View Thread
I take Methotrexate and folic acid. Is there a relationship/interaction between folic acid and B-12? Or Methotrexate and B-12? I seem to feel much better (more energy) if I take a B-12 supplement a couple times a week. However, my B-12 levels tested in the normal range (without supplementation).
How frustrating! When you say extended family, do you mean people not within your immediate family circle? If those closest to you understand and accept what you have to deal with, that is a good thing! I personally try to avoid people (family or not) who are not supportive and understanding, for whatever reason. It's kind of obnoxious (in my opinion) for people to question a medical diagnosis---when did they get their medical degrees?!? It's their problem, not yours. For your own sake, you should cultivate relationships with people who care about you and are empathetic---and sometimes those people aren't necessarily family.
That's my two cents, anyway. Good luck with the new meds. I'm not a doctor, but I would hope that you are being carefully monitored for white blood cell counts to make sure that you are not vulnerable to more infections. View Thread
I use a product called Metagenics UltraInflamX every morning. It's a powder I mix into rice milk, which is brown rice based, and contains anti-inflammatory ingredients including turmeric, rosemary and ginger. The product is actually designed for people with Crohn's, IBD, etc. It was recommended to me by an integrative MD.
I also add in a tsp. of liquid fish oil (4,000 mg).
I use Zeel, which is a homeopathic remedy for arthritis pain, and, for acute discomfort, I use Traumeel, a homeopathic ointment.
I also take Vitamin D and minerals.
As far as diet, I try to eat fresh pineapple almost every day, and I try (as best I can!) to follow Dr. Weil's anti-inflammatory diet pyramid---lots of fruits and vegetables, lots of whole grains in their original state like barley, quinoa, brown rice, etc., beans and legumes, etc.View Thread