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How does a doctor diagnose rheumatoid arthritis?

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You'll get a physical exam and talk about your personal and family medical histories. You may also get blood tests to help see if you have rheumatoid arthritis. Those check for:

You may also get an X-ray or, less often, an MRI to check on possible joint damage. And your doctor may take a sample of your synovial fluid, which comes from your joints.

  • Anemia (low red blood cell count)
  • Rheumatoid factor
  • “Sed” rate (erythrocyte sedimentation rate). High levels are a sign of inflammation.
  • Antibodies to a chemical called CCP
  • High levels of CRP (C-reactive protein)

SOURCES:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "What are Knee Problems?"  "Living with Arthritis," "Rheumatoid Arthritis."

National Institutes of Health: "X-Plain Rheumatoid Arthritis."

Arthritis Foundation: "Rheumatoid Arthritis Resources."

Arthritis Today: "How is Rheumatoid Diagnosed?"

American College of Rheumatology: "Rheumatoid Arthritis,"  "Joint Surgery."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by David Zelman on February 13, 2018

SOURCES:

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases: "What are Knee Problems?"  "Living with Arthritis," "Rheumatoid Arthritis."

National Institutes of Health: "X-Plain Rheumatoid Arthritis."

Arthritis Foundation: "Rheumatoid Arthritis Resources."

Arthritis Today: "How is Rheumatoid Diagnosed?"

American College of Rheumatology: "Rheumatoid Arthritis,"  "Joint Surgery."

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by David Zelman on February 13, 2018

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How do doctors treat rheumatoid arthritis?

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