Urgent! My Mother Was Just Diagnosed With Rheumatoid Arthritis! What Is This Disease?


I just learned that my mom, who is 67 years old, was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis on Thursday. I don’t think that her doctor is helpful, in fact, this diagnosis should have been made a long, long time ago, based on my mother’s symptoms and the illnesses she’s had for the better part of 2005.

I would be deeply grateful for any information about this disease, including links. I don’t know anything about it, and my mother doesn’t know much either. She is into homeopathic remedies, which is fine, but I just want to address this from every angle to help her manage this disease. I should also add that she has had a form of MS. Since she is reluctant to talk about her condition, I’m not exactly sure what her medical history looks like. Will this disease kill her?

I should add that my mother lives in San Francisco and I live in Dallas. She is not a spiritual woman, and has fallen away from the Catholic Chruch. But she is a good person and I am probably the child who is closest (emotionally) to her (I’m her oldest daughter). My other siblings live in the midwest.

Thank you in advance for your replies and information, and any prayers offered.


I don’t know a lot about it ,and am not a medical person, but my husband has it. It is a form of arthritis. I think most people have osteoarthritis but there are many kinds. Rheumatoid is one of the more crippling ones. My husband is 53 and has had it since his late twenties. He takes many medications for it. It can be painful. He takes plaquinil (spelling), Enbrel, which is injectible, prednisone, and ibuprofen. He has nodules on his hands,feet,and elbows. It is good to stay active. It is also an auto-immune disorder. He does fine, works full-time, golfs a lot, etc. I dont think you can die from it, it is more disabling as far as I know. I will say a prayer for you and your mother. God Bless


Link to the Arthritis Foundation:


Will say a prayer for your mom.




Thank you so much for your reply. I really am afraid for her. She seems to be in a denial, of sorts and doesn’t want to talk about it. Can your husband recommend any good websites for more information on the drugs/therapy for RA? Thanks again!


Here’s a link that should provide you with some useful information:


On a personal note, my maternal grandfather suffered from this disease, as do my dad’s older sister and my mom’s older sister, younger brother, and one of her nieces (not a daughter of either of the afflicted siblings). We think one of my other (male) cousins on mom’s side might have it as well.

It’s not a death sentence. Unfortunately I don’t see too much of my dad’s sister, but I know that she is still able to watch her grandkids, keep her home immaculate, and spend a lot of time with the family. My mom’s brother just finished up his 30 years at GM and retired. He does okay on his meds, and his early diagnosis and treatment greatly reduced the amount of disfigurement- you wouldn’t know it to look at him. Mom’s sister had the most dramatic improvement in 2002 when they switched her meds to something new (can’t remember what). She went from being mostly wheelchair-bound to walking everywhere. It of course didn’t reverse her previous disfigurement but I’m sure it keeps it from worsening, and she has a much greater pain-free range of motion. It was a blessing that her meds were switched then, as her husband passed away in early 2003 and she needed her increased independence.

God bless you, your mom, and your family. Stay strong for her, and encourage her to do the same. Make sure that when her meds are worked out, she takes them!


I, too had a heck of a time with diagnosis of the disease - apparently it can easily be missed. Rheumatoid arthritis can come in “flares”, meaning that it will have periods of greater pain and then it will subside for a while. It can also attack one joint and then move along to another, or it can “go everywhere” all at once. It is not fun! When I was diagnosed with a combination of rheumatoid and osteo arthritis it was a relief. My rheumatologist recommended exercise (both aerobic and weight lifting), glucosamine/chondroitin supplements, and several different pain meds. I blew past aspirin and ibuprofen, took Vioxx, then Celebrex, and when they took that off the market, Mobic. For the rheumatoid arthritis I have taken methotrexate once per week for going on 3 years now. I take Folic acid every other day to ameliorate the effects of the methotrexate. I have had very good luck with the Mobic; however what has made the most difference is the exercise. I was diagnosed 3 years ago, but started working out on a regular basis (3 times per week) about 13 months ago and no longer take pain medication regularly. I was taking some kind of pain medication every day, but the working out seems to keep the pain at bay. I will take an aspirin, ibuprofen or a Mobic when the barometric pressure changes (I can predict the weather quite accurately), and my range of motion has improved as well.

Here are two links that may help:


There are several web sites with good information about managing rheumatoid arthritis. They all seem to stress the exercise and good diet for the best results and that has seemed to make the difference in my case. There are some good medications out there to help manage of the disease. The methotrexate is a kind of first line defense and if it doesn’t work, then there are several others (Enbrel, etc.) which may help.

As for wholistic, a co-worker swears by Blue Stuff and organic cherry juice, but I have tried both and they did nothing for me. The glucosamine/chondroitin supplements have been tested and one of them does seem to have an effect on stiff, inflamed joints.

I’m sorry she has to go through this. Please PM me if there is anything else I can do for you! I will pray for you and your mom and the post-er and her husband!


Hi There,

I don’t know that much about RA, but I noticed you said you mother also has MS. Both RA and MS are auto-immune diseases and it’s not uncommon if you have one auto-immune disease to be diagnosed with another. What medications are your mother taking for her MS, because these could affect what she takes for the RA.

I will pray for her.

MSGirl :heart:


My thanks to all of you for posting replies. I am calling my mother right now with this information and links. She is very sad, I think because she just doesn’t know what this means. I’m angry, really angry, at her doctor for calling her and saying that the results to her RA test were positive and the scheduling her next appointment in two weeks!!! It seems like the doctor doesn’t cara at all about my mother! In any case, I’ll post again after I have read through the Arthritis Foundation links and I have talked to my mom. We said a Rosary for her last night, so if nothing else, at least I’m praying more.

My mother’s patron saints are the Blessed Mother Mary and Bernadette of Lourdes. Please pray for my mother. Thank you.


RA is a relatively common disease, especially in women. It’s an autoimmune disorder and women particulary are prone to autoimmune disorders. Although I don’t have RA, my best friend does and I’ve known many people who have this disorder. There are many medications that can be used for this problem and put it into remission. Predisone is sometimes used, but they also have some newer medications, as well as NSAIDS. Perhaps you’ve seen folks with knarled fingers or swollen knuckles…that is from rheumatoid arthritis. It can cause swelling and painful joints. There is a ton of information out there on RA, just go into your search engine, like Google and type in Rheumatoid Arthritis.


Thank you, Celeste. I hope my mother can find a friend with RA who can help her understand this disease.


I have it! I have it!

Oh, maybe I shouldn’t seem so darn happy about it, huh?

It took a long time to diagnose it in me because I don’t have any of the blood markers - but about 20 to 25% of people with RA don’t have the blood markers. My hands and feet (especially my big toes for some weird reason) are really affected.

I am on plaquinil and methotrexate. I also take, don’t laugh, one heaping teaspoon of unflavored gelatin in my juice every morning. It is an old fashioned arthritis remedy…my doc told me that the only side effects would be fabuolus nails and hair. SO…I started doing it about 8 weeks ago. The swelling in my hands has gone down, my nails are fabulous, and my toes are not in as much pain as normal. The weather can affect my joints, though, so as it gets colder we’ll see if this gelatin thing holds up.

RA is a real weird disease. Diet and exercise can help, as can good rest and learning to manage your stress. My prayer life has helped - it keeps me outwardly focused instead of overly concerned with me.

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