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PN and Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Old 05-31-2016, 09:47 PM   #1
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Default PN and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Hello everybody. I last posted here in January when my PN started up. That initial first "flare up" only lasted 3 weeks and then went away, as though it had never happened. I didn't think much of it because I was too happy that it vanished. But it came back with a vengeance (of course!) in the end of April and has been plaguing me ever since.

A few weeks ago I went to a new doctor because I wanted to address my issues: joint pain, anemia, peripheral neuropathy in my feet. I've had joint pain that moves around from joint to joint for a few years and chalked it up to being overweight (which I am working on still) but my glucose numbers were always on the high end of normal and I know that diabetes can cause PN long before you are even diagnosed with it. I am now eating a low carb diet because my doctor refuses to tie the PN to being diabetes related.

She ran blood tests, a lot of them, and my rheumatoid factor was positive at 112 and c-reactive protein and sed levels were elevated. She thinks I have RA (lupus test was negative) and now I am waiting until the end of June to get in to see a rheumy. I also am seeing a neuro in the end of June as well.

But here is my question... what role does an auto-immune disease play in peripheral neuropathy? I honestly can't find much on the internet and I'm desperately hoping that I can do something to reverse what is happening to my feet (although I know the odds are not in my favor) but perhaps getting on the right medication for RA and putting the disease into some kind of remission would help the PN? If they are indeed related. It's the only thing I can now determine would be causing the PN. I've ruled out every other option, unless it truly is a very early stage of diabetes. But of course, my joint pain in the past month has been at an all time high, right along with the PN in my feet. I have to believe the two are somehow related.

I also have stage 2 hypertension and am now on blood pressure medication. I did notice a slight improvement in my feet after taking the blood pressure medication (which is a diuretic - and I lost like 10 pounds in water) so perhaps swelling/being overweight/hypertension and poor circulation is playing a role?

Thank you for your thoughts and support!

Edit: Forgot to mention that my vitamin D was low and I am taking D3 5000 each day. Also, my b12 was through the roof after supplementing it for months (lol) and my doctor told me to lay off of it, it was at 1870. Can I safely keep taking it? I don't want to do anything to impair healing my nerves.
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Old 06-01-2016, 06:18 AM   #2
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Default A LOT of autoimmune syndromes--

--have neuropathy as a a secondary component; most of the anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) autoimmunities can cause it, as can rheumatoid arthritis, and there are also a whole lot of less well-known conditions in which the autoimmune attack is directly on components of peripheral nerve.

The best summarizing database I know that describes this is the Washington University (St. Louis) neuromuscular website:

Immune Neuropathies: Axonal

(This is just the ANA-immune mediated section, since you mentioned rheumatoid arthritis--you can explore the rest of the website for very wide-ranging information about a host of neurologic conditions.)

As far as the B12 goes, that level may have been quite normal depending on how much you were supplementing with and whether you continued to do so right up to the time of the testing. My B12 levels are often in that area and I have to explain to doctors that I do take B12 every day.
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Old 06-02-2016, 12:37 PM   #3
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Thank you very much for your helpful reply. I checked out the link you supplied. I did test negative for ANA, but like I said, positive for rheumatoid factor. So, we will see what happens here in the next month when I have my appointment with my rheumy and neuro.
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Old 06-04-2016, 06:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mskari85 View Post
Thank you very much for your helpful reply. I checked out the link you supplied. I did test negative for ANA, but like I said, positive for rheumatoid factor. So, we will see what happens here in the next month when I have my appointment with my rheumy and neuro.
Hi there, I have faced the same predicament you describe. I have A.S, which stands for ankylosing spondylitis. It's an autoimmune arthritis very similar to R.A in respects. I also now have full body sfn sadly! Biologic treatments such as etanercept and humira are brilliant for A S. I think they have been used with R A with some success. I understand they are not the main drug of use for R A ( I think!)and other disease modifying drugs such as methotrexate and even thalidomide are used. I know this from a friend with R A. The biologics are powerful and effective to a great extent BUT, there are reports that these drugs have caused neuropathy. There are a few good reports online about this.
This wasnt the cause in my case. Mine came on alongside the A S of its own free will. I did try a biologic for a short while after the sfn had started. I am sure it helped some even with the sfn. I stopped taking it though. Options are a bit limited unfortunately. The two conditions do co exist sometimes. I have read a few online about R A and neuropathy. I have been researching online for over a year so have read loads. Still no clear answers unfortunately. Maybe control of the R A will help the neuropathy in your case. I'd get onto the rheumy about trying some o the disease modifying drug options.

Last edited by JoannaP79; 06-04-2016 at 06:46 PM. Reason: Spelling
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diabetes, feet, joint, medication, related

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