Tests Used For Diagnosing Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatology Tests
Rheumatology Tests

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of arthritis that commonly affects people. It can result in pain, swelling, and stiffness in certain joints thereby affecting their mobility. Over time, RA can become debilitating and disabling. Hence, it is important for you to diagnose this condition as soon as possible for preventing it from getting worse. Different rheumatology tests will be performed by the doctors for diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. Some of them are mentioned below:

Physical Exam

This is the primary step for detecting the presence of RA. Your doctor will perform an extensive physical exam for finding the presence of rheumatology symptoms. He/she will check for symptoms like pain, swelling, warmth, redness, etc. in the affected joints. In addition to this, the strength and reflexes of the joints will also be tested.

Rheumatoid arthritis tends to affect the small joints in your hands, feet, and wrists. This can be a great clue for the doctors to find out whether you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or any other condition.

Family History

In addition to performing a physical exam, your doctor will ask you if any of your ancestors had suffered from this condition. If anyone of your close relatives like your parents, siblings, etc. have this condition, then there is a great possibility for you to develop RA too.

Blood Tests

Different blood tests are also used for finding out whether you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis or any other medical condition. Some of them are mentioned below:

Rheumatoid Factor

This is one of the commonly used rheumatology tests. People who are suffering from this condition will have higher levels of an inflammatory marker known as rheumatoid factor (RF) in their blood. This factor will be found in almost 85% of cases who are suffering from RA. However, in some people who have rheumatoid arthritis, this factor may not be visible. So even if your RF test turns negative, it doesn’t mean that you do not have RA.

Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide

When your body responds to an infection or injury, it will produce some proteins called antibodies which can be helpful for healing the problems. As RA results in inflammation, your body will produce an antibody known as anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide at higher levels. Hence, the increased levels of this compound in your blood can be an indication of RA.

Different tests are performed for diagnosing RA. Sometimes, one test may not be sufficient for finding the presence of this disease. Your doctor will be able to suggest the rheumatology tests you have to perform for detecting the presence of this condition based on your symptoms.