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lindagray

Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis & Blood test

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Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis

Diagnosing RA can take time and may require multiple lab tests to confirm clinical examination findings. Your doctor will use several tools to diagnose RA.

First your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They’ll also perform a physical exam of your joints. This will include looking for swelling and redness, and testing your reflexes and muscle strength. Your doctor will also touch the affected joints to check for warmth and tenderness. If they suspect RA, they’ll most likely refer you to a specialist called a rheumatologist.

Since no single test can confirm a diagnosis of RA, your doctor or rheumatologist may use several different types of tests. They may test your blood for certain substances like antibodies, or check the level of certain substances like acute phase reactants that are elevated during inflammatory conditions. These can be a sign of RA and help support the diagnosis.

They may also request certain imaging tests. Tests such as ultrasonography, x-ray exams, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) not only show if damage from RA has been done to your joints but also how severe the damage is. A complete evaluation and monitoring of other organ systems might be in order for some people with RA, too.

Blood test for rheumatoid arthritis

There are several types of blood tests that help your doctor or rheumatologist determine whether you have RA. These tests include:

Rheumatoid factor test: This blood test checks for a protein called rheumatoid factor. High levels of rheumatoid factor are associated with autoimmune diseases, especially RA.

Anticitrullinated protein antibody test (anti-CCP):This test looks for an antibody that’s associated with RA. People who have this antibody usually have the disease. However, not everyone with RA tests positive for this antibody.

Antinuclear antibody test: This tests your immune system to see if it’s producing antibodies. Your body may make antibodies as a response to many different types of conditions, including RA.

Erythrocyte sedimentation rate: This test helps determine the degree of inflammation in your body. The result tells your doctor whether inflammation is present. However, it doesn’t indicate the cause of the inflammation.

C-reactive protein test: A severe infection or significant inflammation anywhere in your body can trigger your liver to make C-reactive protein. High levels of this inflammatory marker are associated with RA.

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