Diagnosis Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that could cause severe damage to your joints if not treated at the right time. Within the first two years, people with RA develop some form of joint damage.

The exact reasons why RA occurs is not yet known to the medical community. Timely diagnosis coupled with effective treatment help improve the quality of life of RA patients. If you are diagnosed with RA, visit the best Los Angeles arthritis clinics.

What Are The Initial Signs Of RA?

Diagnosing RA by merely studying the nature of the symptoms isn’t that easy because everyone may not experience the same set of symptoms. Moreover, symptoms may come and go. Doctors generally look for the following signs to figure out if a patient has RA:

  • Pain, swelling and stiffness of the joints. The joints of the hands, wrist and feet are mostly affected.
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Discomfort that continues to about 6 weeks.
  • Morning stiffness that lasts about half an hour.

It is impossible for doctors to confirm whether one has RA by conducting one diagnostic test alone. In its earlier stage, RA is reminiscent of medical conditions like Lyme arthritis, Psoriatic arthritis, Lupus, and osteoarthritis.

Diagnosing RA

When you visit a doctor seeking a solution for the symptoms reminiscent of RA, The doctor will do the following to figure out whether you have RA:

Inquiry Of Personal And Family Medical History

Having a family history of RA may increase your risk of developing it.

Physical Exam 

The doctor will check your joints to find out if they have redness, swelling, and tenderness.

Antibody Tests

Certain proteins are found in high amounts in the blood of people with RA. The proteins target healthy cells by mistake and cause inflammation. If the antibody blood test results tell that you have high amounts of these proteins in the blood, it means that you have inflammation.

  • Rheumatoid factor(RF)
  • ANA( Antinuclear antibodies)
  • Anti-CCP

The presence of these proteins is not a necessary symptom of RA because all people with RA may not have these proteins in their blood.

Other blood tests: Doctors may also conduct blood tests other than the ones mentioned in the above section. One of the tests takes the complete blood count. Anemia is common in people with RA. Complete blood count test finds out the concentration of RBCs, WBCs, hemoglobin, platelets, and hematocrit, and the information can be used to conclude whether you have anemia( a sign of RA).

Tests for finding out erythrocyte sedimentation rate and levels of C-reactive protein are the other blood tests used for RA diagnosis. Doctors also depend on several imaging tests to diagnose if you have RA.

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