After fighting joint pain, fevers, fatigue, and swelling, a WebMD Community member writes that she has just been diagnosed with RA. She says her hands and wrists hurt, her knees feel locked, and she can't put any weight on her elbows without feeling pain. She's scared and asks what to expect -- from her illness and from the rheumatologist.
Members reassured her that she's not alone and told her what would most likely happen at her doctor visit. She can expect questions about her symptoms -- what they are, when they started, how long they last, and what makes them better or worse. The rheumatologist will look at her joints for swelling, redness, and tenderness. She'll have blood work, possibly X-rays, and will talk about medications.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects about 1% of the population worldwide, but still misunderstanding swirls around this common and severe joint condition.
"There are so many misconceptions out there about rheumatoid arthritis," says Paul Kremer, MD, a rheumatologist and professor of medicine at Albany Medical College in New York.
"Arthritis is common, and rheumatoid arthritis often gets confused with the other kinds of arthritis in people's minds,” he says.
Plus, rheumatoid arthritis is still mysterious...