No swelling with RA??

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Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 8/22/2011 10:36 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello all,
 wondering if its rare to be seropositive and not have any swelling with flare ups?  Im a lymphedema and wound care therapist so im good at detecting even slight swelling,  and thats really all i have (Certainly NOT complaining) lol.  I do have red splotches though. my ccp test was 100 so i know there is inflamation. is this uncommon?

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 2470
   Posted 8/22/2011 5:18 PM (GMT -7)   
At onset I was so swelled and it happened so fast I had to have my rings cut off-they were strangling me and cutting off my circulation. I could not fit my feet in any kind of shoe. The swelling would not go away with prednisone or diuretics. After my flare was put to rest the only swelling I had was once in awhile very minimal in my wrists. I do not swell at all now.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 87
   Posted 8/22/2011 8:03 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow thanks for sharing your info. Im glad you dont have to deal with that anymore.   Ive read alot of personal storys of ra patients and ive not heard anyone say they have never had swelling it has me puzzled.  glad i dont have to deal with that but wondering what this means... if anything.  thanks again

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2010
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   Posted 8/22/2011 8:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Hmmm. I am seronegative and I have a lot of swelling and it is quite evident. I have read that seronegative RA isn't supposed to be as severe. I guess my body didn't get the news. I am starting Humira in a couple of weels.

Fibromyalgia, Seronegative RA, Asthma, High BP, DDD, Bulging Discs in Cervical & Lumbar Spine, GERD, Prediabetic
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Date Joined Mar 2010
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   Posted 8/23/2011 10:45 AM (GMT -7)   
I don't think outward swelling has any thing to do with severity. Plenty of inflammation can be internal. ( That's why the CRP is elevated) Erosion & deformity is what severity is about and I don't think tissue swelling is what causes that.

New Member

Date Joined Aug 2011
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 8/25/2011 6:49 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm seropositive, but have never had a ton of swelling, one just never knows with this disease. I've definitely had my share of flares, just not that much swelling. Basically, my doc says I just don't swell much. I've talked to others that had the same, which stinks in some ways, it can really delay the diagnoses.

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Date Joined Sep 2008
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   Posted 8/25/2011 7:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi I don't swell much either, just slightly swollen everywhere but with one flare my CCP was 350 and I couldn't get my jeans on, my knees were huge. I think the meds especially mtx keep the swelling down.
I guess thats why we take all these toxic substances so they stop the damage caused by the swelling.
My rheumy seems to see swelling when I see nothing.
I wouldn't worry its the symptoms they go off.
Regards, golitho

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Date Joined Feb 2007
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   Posted 8/27/2011 10:28 PM (GMT -7)   
Swelling seems to be all my rheumy looks for. Almost all of my 7 min appt is looking at my fingers when it is increased pain in my hips and shoulders that I moved it up for. She didn't even write down the pain # I gave it or ask what hurts most. I don't seemt to swell up enough either. I mean, I can see it, when I look, an I have to keep buying larger size gloves, but they aren't balloons like what I've been shown.
I'm glad to know that there are others who don't seem to swell either. I had a blood test that was done when I first had joint pain that was through the roof, so there has never been a question if I had RA or not and have been treated pretty quick, but 3 years later I have daily pain and live somewhere about a 5 happily because it was so much worse before getting in to a pain clinic. I am on plaquinil, sulfasalizine and methotrexate as modifiers. I get tramadol and topicals through my pain management doctor, plus other meds for other conditions.
I few like if you could look at my hands and say "she hs RA" I would be more believed when I say that the pain has increased, or spread to include another joint group.
"Life seems a little easier when you remember to breathe"

Dx: Rheumatoid Arthritis 2008
Bipolar 2 2006 (symptoms since 1993)
possable Fibromialgia (still ruling out other dx)
Gluten senitivity 2010
Sleep apneia 2007

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Date Joined Jan 2011
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   Posted 8/28/2011 7:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Years ago i had an idiot of a Rhumy vertually Shout at me "No Swelling,No RA " even while i had a seropositive RF of 160  i went 3 more years in Pain without Diagnosis partly my fault i avoided Rhumys- then finally diagnosed, now my Rhumy seems quite happy that i have limited swelling.i get days when my wedding ring is so tight i cant move it and i got a loose fit for just this reason.i get a bursitis type of swelling just bellow my knee but individual joints No they dont swell. i believe most of it is internal as yes the esr is also high showing there is swelling.
Rhumatoid Arthritis 20Yrs.(that is Diagnosed-but had symptoms since teenage) Asthma,Osteoperosis,Cervical Spondalosos,Degenerative Disc Disese,Diabetes,Heart svt Diabetes
Metheltrexate,Tramal 200mg(twice Day),Prednisone,Diabex.
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* We are Born Crying We Die Crying Try to Laugh inbetween, None of us are Getting out of here Alive *

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 2470
   Posted 8/29/2011 8:51 AM (GMT -7)   
As much as it stumps the doctors- I am so glad I don't get swelling with my RA. That's just one more thing to annoy you. I hated having my rings cut off and not being able to wear a shoe. I was so swelled up and for so long during onset I used to cry when I watched Regis & Kelly. She always has such cute shoes and I woas like WAH! I'll never wear pretty shoes again! Then the swelling went down but my ankles and feet hurt so I switched to flats. Then my feet and ankles still hurt so I said frig this. My feet can hurt in pretty shoes then and I've been back in my heels ever since.

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 168
   Posted 8/29/2011 9:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Weary,

that just fascinates me that you mention "internal swelling." I have been thinking about it for a couple of days. It is one of the many things that you just can't find information about, and why forums like this exist, so people can share that information.

Usually I can tell when my ankles are swollen without even looking... as for why other things hurt when they don't look swollen, well I guess it's that internal swelling.

Wow, Christina, a 7-minute visit from the doctor. That stinks, but I think it beats what I get. Oh well... I guess the doc mostly is interested in reading my lab report, that tells the story for her.
Reactive arthritis, diagnosed 2010. Hypertension. Taking Methotrexate, Norvasc, Relafen. Former user of SSRIs and various mental health providers for anxiety, depression.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2010
Total Posts : 877
   Posted 8/31/2011 7:35 AM (GMT -7)   
I wondered about the swelling thing too. My numbers from the blood work spells RA but I really don't have much swelling. I can feel it in my fingers, knees and ankles but no one else can see it. I also have range of motion issues so there may be more swelling there that the doctor can detect with his examination that I, nor anyone else, can see.
I am on prednisone (slow 9 month taper) and plaquenil. This is supposed to slow the progress, right? Does this mean I may never get that obvious swelling or the deformities that go with it?
Rheumatoid arthritis with secondary Sjogrens, Fibromyalgia, meniscus tears in left knee, Cancer survivor

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2010
Total Posts : 2470
   Posted 8/31/2011 10:28 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Dinta,
Yes Plaquenil is supposed to slow the disease. If you are still having range of motion problems I would ask the doctor if you could try a stronger DMARD as Plaquenil is the most mild. You want to be as comfortable as you can be right? As for swelling- I think some people tend to swell others don't. I don't think that predicts deformities.  Your DMARDS should be getting your ESR & CRP numbers down to low to normal range- if they're not you need something stronger or a combination perhaps. Did you get base line xrays? They should also be done at least once per year to check on erosion. Erosion= deformities.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 9/1/2011 8:03 PM (GMT -7)   
I am serum positive. For the first nine months I was horribly ill with systemic symptoms, fever, fatigue, malaise, the I just got hit by a bus feeling that I can't describe any other way. I had no inflamation at all.
Then one day I woke up from a nap and immediately noticed that I felt better-then I tried to get out of bed and my knee hurt horribly-until then I had had no joint pain-I looked down at my knee and it looked like their was a softball in my knee.

Some people though can have a positve RF and never develop RA.
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