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    Pamzd posted:
    I was diagnosed about 3 weeks ago with RA. I have a lot of ?'s The worst health issue I was having was dry mouth and a dry bronchial cough, but my right index finger started hurting and swelling as well as my left elbow(which both I thought I had hurt from my physical type job). Anyway my Dr. decided since my finger was hurting in my palm area below my index finger he felt he needed to do blood work for RA and sure enough that is what he found. Now for my ?, lol!!! is it as easy to determine as that? Should I go to a Rheumatologist, should I have X-rays? At this point he has me on Plaquenil, Meloxicam, and prednisone.
    Byroney_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Dear Pamzd,

    I am glad you have a sharp doctor who got you diagnosed right away. I know it has taken a lot longer for most of our members here.

    I suspect most members would vote that you see a rheumatologist, because he or she specializes in treating diseases like RA, while your regular doctor is a generalist. However, some of the folks here do see their regular doctor because they choose not to see a rheumatologist, or are unable to.

    Check out RAtv . It is an excellent resource to learn more about Rheumatoid Arthritis. You can learn not only about getting diagnosed and working with your doctor, but about diet, exercise, and even RA in children. You can also meet real people like an exercise director, beauty queen, state representative, and even a black-belt winning grandmother"014all dealing with RA and its challenges.

    From here you can find links to Tracking Your RA Pain, How Well Are You Managing Your RA, and RISE, which is our educational program that can help you understand treatment options.

    Best wishes,

    tami119 responded:
    Hi Pamzd, I would ask your doctor what test he ran to check for RA. Was the blood test for the rheumatoid factor, the sed rate (shows swelling), the anti-ccp, or all three? I believe a positive RF can show up for not just RA but other things such as Sjogren"019s syndrome, etc. Also some people have RA but have no positive rheumatoid factor. My family doctor sent me to a rheumatologist when my blood test for RF came back positive, and my sed rate was elevated. The rheumatologist diagnosed me after examining my joints and looking at the test she received from my primary doctor. She also ran blood work and the anti-ccp came back positive. So yes... sometimes RA can be diagnosed quickly with just some blood work and a physical exam, mine was. For other people I hear it can take years. If I were you I would make an appointment to see a rheumatologist. I had x-rays taken of my hands and feet at my first appointment. I hope this helps. Good luck. : )
    RAWarrior responded:
    Hi Pam,

    My vote is Yes, see an RA specialist or rheumatologist. Yes. For several reasons even if you are certain of diagnosis. RA is a complicated disease and even the specialists are still learning to treat it. There is new info, studies, meds, tests all the time.

    Also, it might help you to read this post about finding a rheumatologist .

    Good luck to you. You are so lucky to be diagnosed early. Hopefully, you will do well.

    proudgrandma123 responded:
    you are one of the lucky ones that was diagnosed early. please consider seeing an RA specialist. there are so many new drugs coming out all the time and one may be right for you. take care and best of luck.
    Pamzd replied to tami119's response:
    Thank you Tami119. . . Yes my Dr. did all three test. Before the swelling in my hand accurred, most of my symtoms were that of Sjogren's for the last 2yrs., but when my hand had swelling in the area it did, it made my Dr. feel the RA test was needed. I am still new to the terminology, but he showed me some numbers; the lower end showing(I think) the sign that it was a possibility of RA, it was around 20, but mine was like 250, which he told me told him I had it for sure.

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