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Rheumatoid Arthritis Center

Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis

Your primary care physician may be the first doctor you see to determine if you have rheumatoid arthritis.  Or, you may want to see a rheumatologist , a physician who specialises in rheumatic disease.  In either case, it's important to understand that rheumatoid arthritis is difficult to diagnose.  Symptoms may take months or years to develop, or may be similar to other joint diseases.  Because of this, there is no single test to determine if you have rheumatoid arthritis.

Medical exams
Your doctor or the rheumatologist will ask you about family history of rheumatoid arthritis.  And, s/he may take X-Rays in order to see the joints, especially over a period of time to see to what extent your possible rheumatoid arthritis is progressing.  Also, a test which searches for a chemical called RF (rheumatoid factor) may be requested.  RF is often present in persons with rheumatoid arthritis.  Lastly, the C-reactive protein test may be ordered to help evaluate your rheumatoid arthritis.     

  • X-rays
  • Rheumatoid factor tests
  • C-reactive protein test

Your medical history, test results, your description of symptoms, and your doctor's physical exam will all be used in order to determine if you have rheumatoid arthritis, or not.  Once you have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, you can begin treatment.  The goals of treatment are many.  Read our How to Treat RA section now to learn more about treatment for rheumatoid arthritis

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