If you have been suffering from stiff, swollen or painful joints you may want to learn more about the diagnosis of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are the two most common types of arthritis today. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause very severe symptoms that reduce joint movement significantly when the disease is left undiagnosed. Getting a blood test is the first step in seeking treatments that will reduce your symptoms and improve your long term prognosis with rheumatoid arthritis.
The most common effective way to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis is with a panel of lab tests. People with osteoarthritis typically won’t have a test that is positive for the rheumatoid factor, or RA factor. The RA factor is commonly found among patients suffering from an autoimmune disorder, including those who have rheumatoid arthritis. When there is an absence of the RA factor in people diagnosed with rheumatism, the chance of developing severe symptoms is significantly decreased.
The test will also measure specific antibodies to determine whether you are at a higher risk for severe arthritis. A blood test is used to identify anti-CCP antibodies, which are typically present in people who are at a greater risk for developing severe arthritis symptoms. Blood tests can also be used to detect inflammation in the body. Inflammation is one of the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Genetic testing can also be completed to detect markers that are linked to autoimmune disorders.
Some blood tests can be completed before the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are present. For example, tests designed to detect the RA factor can be used to determine whether you are at a risk for developing arthritis later in life. About ten percent of people tested have been later diagnosed with RA without the RA factor being present in earlier blood tests. Working with a physician to determine which tests are needed is the first step in diagnosing your disease.Arthritis that is treated early is often less disabling than when treated at a later stage. The right combinations of medicines can put RA into remission, allowing you to live a fuller, more fulfilling life without the pain and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis