I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C last year. I underwent treatment this summer, and while I had never been formally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I have suffered joint pain for a long time. I have osteo arthritis in my left ankle from an injury, but have had a lot of pain in my neck, back, legs, and hands for some time now. I am 50 years old. Some Dr.’s feel some of the joint pain could be caused by the Hepatitis C. Since treatment, my wrists and thumbs on both hands and my neck have gone crazy with pain. I recently began taking prednisone in low doses to handle the pain, and the blood panel came back with high inflammation, but tested negative for the rheumatoid factor at this time. I was unable to finish treatment for the Hepatitis C because of the pain from the arthritis. How do I find a physician that is knowledgeable in both the hepatitis and the arthritis?
I agree that it is often difficult to distinguish RA from the joint pains associated with hep C. Many hep C patients have a positive rheumatoid factor (RF) test making diagnosis more difficult. Your rheumatolgist and hepatologist should be working together on this.