Rheumatoid Arthritis In America

How Condition Outlook and Quality of Life Differ for People Living with Seronegative RA

For people living with seropositive rheumatoid arthritis, a blood test and a distinct set of symptoms are enough to confirm diagnosis. Unfortunately, for those diagnosed with seronegative rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the journey may not be as simple. According to data from Rheumatoid Arthritis In America 2019, seronegative respondents are more likely to have been misdiagnosed, leaving the majority of this subset in a state of confusion from the beginning of their RA journey. 

Living with a seronegative diagnosis can impact a person’s outlook on their condition, and their outlook on life. Because lab results are often inconclusive, many with seronegative RA may struggle with or question their diagnosis. Seronegative respondents are more likely to agree that RA makes them feel older than they are, and that RA stops them from living the life they want. They are also more likely to worry about their ability to provide for themselves or their family.

Stigma comes into play more so for people living with seronegative RA; respondents within this subset are more likely to feel like others disapprove of them and judge them unfairly due to their RA. Half* of seronegative respondents feel that RA interferes with their identity and sense of self. 

Additionally, respondents living with seronegative RA are more likely to be employed full time, and more likely to agree that RA has had a negative impact on their finances. Due to so many external factors, it’s understandable why respondents living with a seronegative diagnosis are more likely to currently use stress reduction or management techniques.

Overall, the RA In America 2019 results show a level of uncertainty throughout daily life for respondents living with a defined seronegative diagnosis, which leads them to seek support. Seronegative respondents are more likely to learn about or manage their condition through other RA patient(s) and online patient support groups, and are more likely to visit RheumatoidArthritis.net a few times a month. 

Knowing that people living with a seronegative rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis are seeking knowledge through the experiences of others, how can we change the dialogue to help them feel validated, and improve their quality of life?

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*Top 2 box on a 7-point scale