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Blood Tests

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#1 gemjar


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Posted 10 January 2008 - 09:35 PM


I finally have an appointment with a Rheumatologist on 1st March. My general practitioner did routine blood tests and said that she also tested for antibodies present in RA, Lupus and Connective tissue disease (not sure if I'm saying this right). She said that the tests showed nothing present, but that doesn't eliminate anything yet. She said the Rheumatologist would do more extensive testing. From what I have described to her she also mentioned a disease that affects the muscles, since I have feelings of all over muscle fatigue(i can't remember the name).

Can you tell me what sort of tests the rheumatologist is likey to do, what I can expect ? Also how likely is it of a diagnosis when routine blood tests showed nothing wrong? I said that I feared the rheumatologist would think this is all in my head, after coming out of there today I'm starting to wonder if I'm imagining this myself. But swollen fingers and joint pain when I'm doing simple things I'm not imagining. Even when I drive a small distance my fingers end up curved in the position of the steering wheel when I get out of the car and I have to shake my hands, clenching and unclenching them to get the moving again.

Hope this make sense and look forward to hearing your replies.

Warmly Karen :)

#2 WestCoast1


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Posted 11 January 2008 - 05:55 AM

Hi Karen,
That is good to hear that you finally have an appointment. He/she may do a few more blood tests, and depending on what your symptoms are they may do other tests as well. It takes time for a new reumy to evaluate your symptoms. This could happen in one appointment or over the course of several years.

I would just go in with your list of symptoms and really communicate how you feel. From there you may be reffered to a specialist, or asked to come back in a few months to look over the tests that he did do.

Hope this helps.


#3 Sweet


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Posted 11 January 2008 - 07:38 AM

Hi Karen,

I think a really good rheumatologist relies on symptoms just as much as concrete lab tests. I know mine does. Do you get this sense from yours? Most rheumatologist's know that it can takes years from some tests to finally show positive, and for other symptoms to manifest themselves in order to pin a name on it.

Don't give up, just keep a list of what is going on with you and keep the lines of communication open with your doctor.
Warm and gentle hugs,

ISN Support Specialist
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#4 janey


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Posted 11 January 2008 - 01:46 PM

Looks like you're being tested for all the connective tissue diseases (lupus, RA, scleroderma and Polymyositis/Dermtomyositis). Polymyositis is the one that affects the muscles. You mentioned your muscles are weak, so he'll probably run another blood test to check your CK or CPK. This indicates the amount of muscle enzymes in your bloodstream due to inflammation. I'm glad to see you have a rheumatologist that doesn't go by bloodtests alone to make a diagnosis. Bloodtest results are an indicator as to the direction to further explore. They aren't necessarily a positive diagnosis. You can have false positives and false negatives.

Here's our link to common medical tests for scleroderma. Your rheumatologist may decide to run some of these as well.

Please let us know when you get more information. Hang in there. Diagnosis of any disease is not always quick. I'd rather the doctor be thorough and get the right diagnosis, than quick and get it wrong.

Big Hugs,

Janey Willis
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(Retired) ISN Assistant Webmaster
(Retired) ISN News Director
(Retired) ISN Technical Writer for Training Manuals
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#5 gemjar


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Posted 14 January 2008 - 02:52 AM

Thankyou for your replies ladies, I appreciate it. Also the suggestion of making a list is a good idea. I have always been good at remembering things, but I have a feeling this will be different. My appointment has changed now to the 28th Feb, so theres really not much longer to wait.

Sweet..... this will be my first visit with a rheumatologist and I have it on good authority that he is a patient/caring man who takes his time and is very thourough. So I am feeling at ease at the moment. In the meantime you may still here from me with a question or two, so I hope you don't mind :)


#6 Stacey


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Posted 17 January 2008 - 06:59 PM


I wouldn't be worried about the rheumatologist thinking it was all in your head. Before I got an actual diagnosis I felt like it was all in my head but when others started noticing things I realized that it wasn't just in my head anymore.
I do have Scleroderma with the overlap of Polymyositis and some of your symptoms sound a lot like mine. Don't give up. I'm sure your new rheumatologist will run the tests. If they do suspect you have Polymyositis they may order a muscle biopsy or a test called an EMG or they may order a MRI of your thigh muscles. The EMG, I'm sorry to say was one of the worst tests I ever had and I do hope that you won't have to go through that. And also they may have you get a CT scan.
I do hope that they can find out what's wrong with you!