There are many ways in which rheumatoid arthritis can be diagnosed. The initial methods of diagnosing this disease in the body are by understanding the initial symptoms that include the joint stiffness, and swelling and inflammation. These symptoms alone are not enough to be sure that there is presence of rheumatoid arthritis in the body. That is where other tests are needed in diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis in the body. The other tests that can help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis include the x-ray, citrulline antibody and presence of rheumatoid arthritis nodules.
Diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis needs to be undertaken in steps, the first one being a meeting between the patient and a doctor. During the meeting, the doctor will need to know the patient’s medical history, the history of the patients family and if there is any other person who had suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. Such knowledge will help the doctor diagnose the cause of rheumatoid arthritis in the patient. The doctor will also take some tests on the patients’ joints during this first meeting. These tests are meant to diagnose joint inflammation, damage of the joint skin, any presence of nodules under the skin and also how tender the joints are. The presence of nodules especially in the areas around the finger and elbows are good diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
The doctor might also take x-ray to be surer of the diagnoses of rheumatoid arthritis. Tests to determine the level of inflammation will greatly help the doctor in diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. In presence of rheumatoid arthritis, the small joints of the hands and legs tend to get inflamed in a systematic manner. This will help the doctor in making his diagnosis; this is because in cases where inflammation is only on a few joints, it is hard to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. The doctor will then need to take other tests to make sure that inflammation is not as a result of other diseases like gout or infection.
Blood tests are another way that can be used to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. In the people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, their blood tends to have abnormal antibodies which are the rheumatoid factor. However, there are some rheumatoid arthritis patients whose blood shows negative rheumatoid factor. This type of rheumatoid arthritis is known as seronegative rheumatoid arthritis. In such a case, other tests need to be carried out in order to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis.
The other tests that can be taken to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis include the anti-CCP test. In people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, this test will be positive in most people. In the earlier stages of rheumatoid arthritis, the citrulline antibodies will be present. This test is therefore very useful in diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis in its early stages. Another abnormal antibody that can be present in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and is useful in diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis is the antinuclear antibody.
Blood tests can also be used in diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. In the sedimentation rate, the red blood cells fall faster in the tests tube. The rate at which these red blood cells fall is determined by the severity of the disease. In cases where the disease is in flares, the red blood cells tend to fall at a very high rate. The C – reactive protein test can also be taken to diagnose the cause of inflammation. Any abnormalities showed by these tests are clear diagnoses of rheumatoid arthritis.