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#447239 - 07/14/11 09:04 PM Genral question about Rheumatoid Arthritis
JamesB Offline

Registered: 07/17/03
Posts: 2954
Loc: Northwest Ohio
Hi Everyone,
Yesterday a friend of mine was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, with a possible diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. She also has anxiety and colitis. Most of her symptoms started after beginning work recently and after having trouble with her colitis.

Her symptoms that led to the RA diagnosis with possible MS diagnosis were swelling of the lower half of her body (not the joints but the whole body parts), she was having bad memory loss, loss of function of her leg, and falling down, and quickly falling asleep for no reason at all. She was also having pain in her hips, legs, and the part of her back where she hurt herself at work. She had tests done confirming an RA diagnosis yesterday, and ct scans showed inflammation on her spine the day before I believe. She also had a muscle enzyme test done yesterday that showed a score in excess of 900 which convincing the doctor that she has muscle deterioration going on.

So my questions are these: Does RA cause elevated muscle enzymes and body swelling that resembles Edema, or is it an unrelated problem that isn't yet diagnosed?

She is only 22 years old and a mother and hasn't been handling the news about her diagnosis very well at all. She's afraid to drive too.


#447244 - 07/14/11 11:39 PM Re: Genral question about Rheumatoid Arthritis [Re: JamesB]
WendyR Offline

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 5231
Loc: BC, Canada
Hi James,

I'm not aware that the elevated muscle enzymes and body swelling are part of RA.

Do you know what the diagnosis was based on? Her symptoms just don't sound like RA.

Rheumatoid Arthritis
Methotrexate, Celebrex, Plaquenil

#447263 - 07/15/11 09:58 AM Re: Genral question about Rheumatoid Arthritis [Re: JamesB]
mig Offline

Registered: 04/27/02
Posts: 12461
Loc: ON, Canada
Hi James,

Your friend's symptoms sound atypical if it really is RA, just from the bits of reading that I've done (which is not much). I'm curious if this diagnosis was determined by a rheumatologist or a different type of specialist? I was under the impression(?) that RA could not be diagnosed without involvement of the small joints in hands... but perhaps I am wrong about that.

I'd also wonder about the extent and timing of the back injury she sustained at work and whether this could account for the edema, legs and hip pain as well.. but it sounds like they have at least been exploring that possibility.

At only 22, I don't doubt that anyone would be frightened by the news. Anxiety too seems a natural thing to have to battle when our health is threatened. It shakes our sense of well-being for sure.

She is lucky to have you to talk things through with, James. I hope they will be able to help her!

#447282 - 07/15/11 11:54 AM Re: Genral question about Rheumatoid Arthritis [Re: mig]
JamesB Offline

Registered: 07/17/03
Posts: 2954
Loc: Northwest Ohio
Thanks Mig and Wendy,

Her diagnosis was determined by a family doctor who is convinced that she has an inflammatory problem going on (other than her colitis), and I think the diagnosis was mostly determined by the results in her blood tests. He is sending her to a rheumatologist and a neurologist for further testing for her unusual symptoms and because of the results of the muscle enzyme test.

Yep, there is a pretty good chance that the RA diagnosis could be wrong, or might not have meant to be official, but at least now she has a doctor who believes her about the specific problems she has been having. This family doctor is not her regular family doctor by the way.

For a while now she has only been having problems with her recurring back pains which originally started as a back injury at work, until recently. During the past couple of weeks that pain has been becoming more and more intense after she started working again, and then it began spreading to her hips, along with large amounts body swelling (and the pain from swelling) from the waist down. Since that started she has been dealing with things that appear to be bad fatigue, and occasionally loosing the use of one of her legs and falling down because of it, and she is loosing her memory. Her leg had little to no reflexes at the time of testing it also. During this whole time her colitis has been giving her a lot of trouble too.

It's tough having to watch someone her age have to deal with things like this.

Take care,


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