Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What's wrong with me if tests for rheumatoid arthritis keep coming back normal?"
22 year old female. I've had joint pain and inflammation for 3 years now. Been tested for rheumatoid arthritis twice, both came back normal. I still have join pain, could something else be causing it? Starting to get worried that something is really wrong with me.
Joint pain in a young female has many different possible causes other than rheumatoid arthritis. Without knowing what tests you had, it is impossible for me to narrow down the possibilities. Assuming that only rheumatoid arthritis was tested for, there are other possible tests that should be done to rule in or rule out other causes of joint pain. While rheumatoid arthritis is probably the most common cause of inflammatory joint pain in a young female, other causes such as psoriatic arthritis and lupus arthritis should be considered. In some people, joint pain can be the primary symptom in both of these diseases. The blood test for these two is slightly different than the test for rheumatoid arthritis. Another possibility is you have caught an infection that is causing the arthritis. In the northeast, infections with the tic borne lyme disease are common, and can cause joint pain among many other symptoms. Since you have had this pain for a while without any answers, I think it is appropriate for you to jump to seeing a specialist. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with a rheumatologist. He or she will know what tests are necessary in your case to determine the cause of your joint pain.
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