Month: December 2014

Rheumatoid arthritis classification criteria 2010

An international test evaluation for RA.  I scored 7 and I am RF negative.                                                        2010 Rheumatoid Arthritis Classification THE 2010 ACR-EULAR CLASSIFICATION CRITERIA FOR RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS Score Target population (Who should be tested?): Patients who have at least 1 joint with definite clinical synovitis (swelling)* with the synovitis not better explained by another disease† Classification criteria for RA (score-based algorithm: add score of categories A – D; a score of ≥6/10 is needed for classification of a patient as having definite RA)‡ A. Joint involvement § 1 large joint¶ 0 2-10 large joints 1 1-3 small joints (with or without involvement of large joints)# 2 4-10 small joints (with or without involvement of large joints) 3 >10 joints (at least 1 small joint)** 5 B. Serology (at least 1 test result is needed for classification)†† Negative RF and negative ACPA 0 Low-positive RF or low-positive ACPA 2 High-positive …

How RA Feels

RA starts in the feet as often as in the hands.                                                           Mine had started in my feet long before I was given a diagnosis.  My feet came to feel like dense bricks. The whole main part of my feet, all those little joints, were swollen and in pain. The three middle toes on each foot were swollen and would have sporadic shooting pains. I had a hard time walking. My hands have almost equal billing. Knuckles are enlarged and always have some degree of swelling. I use a simple rubber square jar opener to do the job of opening  jars and bottles.  I keep scissors around the house. They make it so much easier to open many things. Symmetry is a hallmark symptom of RA.  Left foot and right foot. Middle three toes each side. Any synovial joint in the body can be affected. My left jaw (mandible) joints …

RA Labs

 Labs Labs are tools to help diagnose RA, distinguish it from other forms of arthritis, determine its severity and monitor key body functions for the liver and kidneys during treatment. Rheumatoid Factor (RF) Rheumatoid Factor is an autoantibody that is produced by the body’s immune system.  Autoantibodies, made by the B cells, attack a person’s own antibodies. The presence of Rheumatoid Factor  is an indicator of inflammatory and autoimmune activity. Elevated in about 80% of those diagnosed with RA. Some link the severity of RA with the degree of elevation. The RF may also be elevated in those with Lupus, endocarditis, cancer and a variety of other disorders. My RA is considered sero-negative as my RF factor was not elevated.

Thanks a bunch, medical researchers

It was time to do his urine test to determine  his insulin dose. He was diabetic. He followed procedure carefully.  He went into the bathroom and closed the door. He picked up his urinal and proceeded to fill it. He left the bathroom and handed the urinal to the nurse.  She took it into the bathroom. She dipped her measuring tape into her patient’s urine. She waited as it changed color. She held it up to the chart. A 2+. She went back to the nurses’ station and drew up the units of regular insulin designated for a 2+ test result. She administered the insulin to her patient.  Diabetic management in the 60s.  Blood glucose meters had not been invented yet.

Wrapping your head around RA

When I was diagnosed with RA, I was too sick to understand the long term implications. I was grateful at the time to put a label on the devastating attack on my body. I love books and have always looked to books for solutions as well as for pleasure. Soon after my diagnosis, I purchased the book, The First Year Rheumatoid Arthritis by M.E.A. McNeil. With RA there is a major shift in your life. What to do? How to cope? What to think? It is overwhelming. This book set me on the right course. It helped me organize.

Maneuvering the medical system

  Treat Me, Not My Age is written by geriatrician, Mark Lachs, MD*.   The book discusses Why you should be an informed patient  How to become  informed The pitfalls of being an aging patient in our current medical system How to take charge and  maneuver the medical system maze There are doctors who do nothing for  aging patients even though appropriate, aggressive treatment may improve the life and well-being in the elderly the same as someone younger. over treat aging patients, not understanding the patient’s health situation. talk down to an elderly patient and blow off patient’s concerns attributing them to aging problems instead of symptoms of disease. Over 98,000 Americans die each year due to medical errors. Many more are injured. The average primary doctor has about 2000 patients.  Dr. Lachs makes clear the perils we face as patients. He then offers  a guide to managing medical issues that we encounter as we age. He believes “…the most important primary care provider is you.”  It is your life. You are the one who needs to keep track of what …

A sometime treacherous trip made easier

  Rheumatoid Arthritis brings  new meaning to the expression ‘adapt or perish’. Life will never be the same once diagnosed with RA. Life can be very good. It can be great. In RA a good life needs help. It needs adaptation. I do remember the days when I would park at the farthest space in a parking lot just to get just a little more walking into my day. When RA hit me like a lightning bolt and started its invasion of my body, I no longer had that luxury.

Have you ever felt stranded?

Have you ever felt stranded?  Sick …Painfully so…But did not know who to call. Maybe too sick to figure it out. This happens a lot to those of us with autoimmune disorders. I am seeing many doctors, each a specialist who oversees a section of my body.  For me, I have a rheumatologist, an oncologist, an endocrinologist, an ENT Doc, an internist and a podiatrist. However, there is no one who looks at the total me. This week I am in trouble. Things just are not working well enough. The protocols that are to be followed when I am in trouble are not working.  What do you do when your painful issue does not fall into the neat little slot of a specialty? When you are plainly worried that all is going to hell?  Who do you call? Unfortunately, not GHOSTBUSTERS.

A gift from heaven

When I saw his face I knew instantly that we would be a great match. He had that feisty, can take on the world look. Round face, green eyes, tabby markings in a huge Main Coon Cat. I saw his face on the Animal Humane Website. I met the photographer who had taken his photograph, a volunteer. I did not get that image, but it had been the one that drew me in. I went cross town to the Animal Humane site on Virginia. I looked for him. He was not in the general cat areas. It was the photographer who found him. On his kennel was a sign: You choose your price. He was on the higher shelf. I invited him down. He came. Gorgeous face. His body had been shaved except for his head and a big puff at the end of his tail. He was a bag of bones.  He was 8 years old, deserted and on the big decline. I took him home. Now he eats a breakfast of fish and a dinner …