Unlike osteoarthritis, a condition caused by wear and tear on joints, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the immune system targets a person's joint linings. Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory condition that also affects other tissue, but the joints are usually the most severely affected.
Although doctors aren't sure of the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis, it's thought that it may result from a combination of genetics and environmental triggers. Some researchers believe an infection...
The medical history and physical
exam are routine parts of any medical evaluation.
Important findings in the physical exam
Pattern of symptoms in the affected
Presence of swelling or tenderness in the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis often causes painful, swollen, "hot"
joints and often affects the same joints on both sides of the body. Your doctor will note the location of affected joints, as well as other
symptoms, to find out whether your condition meets the
criteria for a diagnosis of rheumatoid
What To Think About
Physical findings are an important
part of the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and are also used to evaluate the
success of treatment.