Newly diagnosed RA

Nurses General Nursing


Sigh. Well, at least I now have an explanation for my aching hips, stiff fingers, sore knees, fatigue, etc. I just got my bloodwork back and my RA factor indicative of rheumatoid arthritis. It's a shock because I'm 31 and figured I had years before something like this would occur. I just graduated nursing school this May and am set to start a new job on July 4th. I'm kind of scared that having RA will interfere with my choice of careers and am planning on returning to school in the near future to get my BSN, then my MSN. This may allow me to do other things in the nursing world if my RA gets to the point where bedside nursing is not an option.

Does anyone have any experience with this? Are there any practicing RN's out there with RA? If so, how long have you had it? I consider 31 to be young to have RA (with the exception of Juvenile Arthritis) and am scared that this will mean the end of hospital/acute care by the time I'm 40. I've had patients who had RA in my school clinical rotations and the majority of them were depressed, in chronic pain, on disability, etc. Can you see why I'm worried?

If anyone has any kind words, suggestions, advice, etc. I would be glad to hear it. Even though we were taught about RA in school, it seems different when it's happening to my own body. :uhoh21:

Thanks in advance,



1,060 Posts

Specializes in Telemetry, ICU, Resource Pool, Dialysis.

Hi Melanie - I'm really sorry about your diagnosis. I don't have RA, but I know people who do. To my knowledge, RA tends to strike young people. I suppose it could show up at any age, but really doesn't have anything to do with age since it is an autoimmune disorder. The people I know are young, and were diagnosed in childhood.

I think the good news is that there are new drugs available, and new treatments coming out for RA. From what my friends tell me, the sooner the inflammation is under control, the slower it progresses. When I was in school, I took care of many RA patients who were elderly - they were severely affected. I think some of the reasons for that were no effective treatment 20-3o years ago, and late diagnosis.

I hope you get some good feedback here, and I wish you the best of luck!

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