What about Classic Rheumatoid Arthritis? | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

What about Classic Rheumatoid Arthritis?

What is classic rheumatoid arthritis

Wondering about a classic Rheumatoid Arthritis

Almost one year ago, I asked Is There a Typical Rheumatoid Arthritis? That was the night I sat in a hotel room reading case studies about Rheumatoid Arthritis in the DIP joint (fingertip) after a not-so-enlightening visit with a character I now call Dr. Dip.

I had no idea whether I had classic Rheumatoid Arthritis. My joints didn’t read any books. I didn’t know many other RA patients personally. My blog was only a couple of months old. My website was still a daydream.

Dr. Google was the best doctor I’d met at that point because he was totally objective. Doc Google never said, “Joints don’t do that.” Or “You can’t get RA there.” Or “You don’t look sick to me.” I just searched and found. Black and white.

Is there a classic Rheumatoid Arthritis?

It’s been a year of the same thing over and over: asking and searching, finding and reading. But some things are not the same. I’ve read tens of thousands of comments and emails and messages from RA patients all over the world. Some I’ve talked to on the phone or in person. A handful of them have become good friends of mine. Their lives have informed me.

What else is not the same? I finally got over the heartbreaking visit with Dr. Dip and found courage to try yet another rheumatology specialist. I found a good one whom I’ve learned from.

What else is new? The American College of Rheumatology changed the guidelines used to diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis. You can read how I reported on that blockbuster last October in a series about defining RA and why it matters. The ACR guideline is where most doctors look if they want to find out what classic Rheumatoid Arthritis is.

What else? My RA is another year older and another year worse.

What are classic Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms?

Just how many patients does it take before something is considered typical? Can we figure out once and for all what typical or classic Rheumatoid Arthritis is like? If anyone should know, I say it’s the patients. We know our own RA and we actually listen to and believe one another.

  • What do you think are the 6 most classic symptoms of RA? I know there are dozens of different symptoms, so try your best.
  • What are your own most significant symptoms? I know it’s hard, try to keep it to 6 or fewer.
  • Do you think your own Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms are typical? Does your doctor?

This week, I realized that meeting Dr. Dip was enlightening after all. If that guy hadn’t acted like such a typical dip, I might not have been so aware of this problem.

Recommended reading:

Kelly O'Neill

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked about 12 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over fourteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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90 thoughts on “What about Classic Rheumatoid Arthritis?

  • October 18, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I have been diagnosed for a few weeks but have been ill for several years, for some time struggling with “no” diagnosis but obvious illness, then following an inconclusive biopsy, a working diagnosis of mitochondrial myopathy. A bad disease with (apparently) many symptoms which mimic/parallel those of RA. Ta-Da!! As I have read through multiple entries I have been surprised to learn that these symptoms are RA. Wow. As a medical practitioner I have had the standard “medical model” of RA in my head, joint pain, joint destruction, mobility problems, organ involvement, and dwindling. My personal journey is yet young, at least as a learning, informed, diagnosed individual living with RA. So, six symptoms that I experience.
    1. Pain, legs….it seems like my ankles, feet, TOES, and knees always hurt.
    2. swelling toes to groin.
    3. shortness of breath
    4. dry eyes, mouth, itching eyes.
    5. Hoarseness
    6. Fatigue, malaise, insomnia…..seems like an oxymoron!
    I am very glad I found each of you. Thanks for your willingness to share.

    • October 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks to you too Jan. As you can imagine, this is helpful to others to have this info.
      And best of luck in your journey as a young warrior.

  • August 21, 2016 at 10:50 am

    2. Stiffness and pain (especially in am)
    3. Depression
    4. Periods of extreme flare and remission (I’ve had this disease for 23yrs)


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