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Joint pain after quitting smoking suddenly, have sleep apnea, narcolepsy and autoimmune problems. Normal?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 983 Questions
Hello I quit smoking cold XXXXXXX six days ago, and have been having really intense arthritis like symptoms in every possible joint of my body to the point I audibly groan and scream getting up...I have sleep apnea and verified narcolepsy and general autoimmune weirdness, which includes a condition where I have massive edema swelling in both ankles to the point I cannot wear shoes in the summer heart. I also have high blood pressure (142) since I have gained some weight back and am working on lowering it but it's kind of a constant battle for me (since the age of 18). My mother died of a heart attack, first and last at the age of 44. I have been tested borderline (?can someone be borderline? that is what an emergency doc told me at age 21) for rheumatoid arthritis. Since there was no conclusive, I have been dealing with life staying inside on hot days for 10yrs and generally just wearing constrictive hose and breathing through painful days...not easy but since there is no answer for why, no treatment can be given.

Getting back to the smoking cessation, have been doing really well, no cheating, really full on goodness, I have been stretching all the time, but it's not helping. I am a massage therapist and would get XXXXXXX tissue usually for my aches, but I am finding it even too much to have my own clothes brush against my skin now. I am taking an over the counter anti inflammatory but I have to continue working and I feel like I am totally disabled and nauseous, and if I make a wrong move, I am really going to throw my back out...I can't move my neck without manually cracking it after moving around a bit in the AM hrs and same goes for my hip... Is all this normal or should I seek a consultation with a health professional in my province along the lines for possible rheumatoid factor? Would someone have pity on my poor self to give me some kind of pain killer do you think? I have never been in so much pain, let me under line that. Kidney infections, knee dislocations, surgery, nothing like this!! How long should this last for? I have guests coming to stay with me and rent to pay in a few days, but for the life of me, I can't even take out the garbage let alone scrub a tub nor massage a XXXXXXX tissue series of clients! I never thought quitting would be so painful!!
Posted Sat, 8 Sep 2012 in Smoking and Alcohol Addiction
Answered by Dr. Aparna Kohli 4 hours later
Thanks for writing in.
First, congratulations on the splendid job. Quitting is a very big deal and I am sure you are much stronger now. Also, I would like to tell you that it is extremely unlikely that your symptoms are due to quitting smoking. It could be rheumatoid arthritis or it could be other kinds of autoimmune processes as well. We need to run some tests to find out whats going on. The first would be a rheumatoid factor, anti CCP antibodies and a Xray of your neck. There is no such thing as borderline RA. Either you have it or you dont. It could be mild/moderate/severe but not borderline/Present/Absent.
Also, the pain killers will make your blood pressure worse. We need to start treating you for the high blood pressure ( since you have a family history) . Pain killers like opioids would be required for you till we get the diagnosis in place. Please see your physician as soon as possible.
Let me know if I can address any more concerns.
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