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Delayed diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis in an elderly patient presenting with weakness and desolation


We describe the case of an 81-year-old man who presented with unspecific symptoms of desolation and general weakness, which led to a delayed diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The patient had not received any previous treatment as he had not been in contact with medical services for several years prior to hospital admission. This enabled advanced disease manifestations to develop, including peripheral neuropathy with distal paraparesis, lethargy and weight loss. These signs and symptoms were later recognised as extra-articular manifestations of RA and classical features of RA were less pronounced. Following extensive diagnostic testing ruling out other possible causes for the presenting symptoms, an anti-inflammatory therapy with oral glucocorticoids and methotrexate was started.

  • general practice / family medicine
  • geriatric medicine
  • rheumatoid arthritis

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