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Rheumatoid arthritis, knuckle pain on hand, high RA factor and cyclic citrullinated peptide, body aches, taking hydroxychloroquine

Hi there. I was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritous. I had went into my family Dr. 10 days ago complaining of knuckle pain on my right hand - and some tighting in my hands in the morning. He ran some blood work which came back with a very high RA Factor of 813. He then sent me to a Rheumatologist who again drew more blood to verify. I just got the report in the mail today and the two tests for RA confirm that I have it. My question is this - is this FOR SURE RA and nothing else? Everything came back normal except for the Rheumatoid Factor was at 350 (it shows the normal range would have been 0-14) and then the Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide AB came in high too at 185. I am worried sick - I am young, 32 years old mother of 3 toddlers. A few weeks ago it was just tightness, then my knuckles started hurting on just my right hand - now yesterday I noticed my left hand nuckles hurt and my ENTIRE body aches. How fast is this going to attack me? Everything I read seems to be awful. How serious is this? My Dr. did start me on hydroxychloroquine for now; but I am told that can take 2 mths to show if it works?
Asked On : Mon, 26 Mar 2012
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Sports Medicine Specialist 's  Response
Your symptoms like pain and swelling of multiple joints of hand are seen in Rheumatoid arthritis. This is also associated with early morning stiffness of these joints which subside to some extent with activity and as the day progress.
Positive rheumatoid factor and cyclic citrullinated AB further points towards Rheumatoid arthritis.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), swollen and tender joint counts are used to monitor disease activity.
It is treated with Disease Modifying AntiRheumatic Drugs (DMARDs) like methotrexate, sulfasalazine, hydroxychloroquine, corticosteroids etc. painkillers, exercises to preserve range of motion of joints and prevent joint deformities.
House/ equipment modifications and modifications in day to day activities will be helpful to prevent undue strain of joints.
These drugs do take 4 to 10 weeks to show effects. Hydroxychloroquine monotherapy is used in patients with minimal disease activity. You can contact your rheumatologist if the symptoms are aggravating so that he can titrate/ add more medications.
Some of these medications are not advisable if one is breast feeding the infant.
Take care
Answered: Tue, 22 May 2012
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