DOCTORS,DECISIONS & DIAGNOSIS
Your doctor may ask you for your family history such as; members with RA, with autoimmune disease, other medical conditions and illness's that may be linked to diagnosis.
There are a range of blood tests to identify a specific set of antibodies known to be contributors of RA. The blood tests for
Rheumatoid factor- found in the majority of RA patients, but does not necessarily confirm RA.
Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (CCP)- If tested positive for this it is a strong indicator of RA.
Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) and C-Reactive Protein (CRP)- used to measure the levels of inflammation in a patients joints.
X-Rays, CT's & MRI's to look for signs of joint damage, Bone and cartilage erosion, and narrowing of joint space.
Doctors will then reach a diagnosis based on symptoms and test results. The main criteria being symmetrical joint pain, symptoms for 6weeks or longer, joints affected like wrists, knees, fingers, hands.
There are 4 stages of Arthritis that your Rheumatologist may refer to, to describe how much your condition has progressed.
Stage 1- Your own immune system attacks the body
Stage 2- The body creates the antibodies which make joints swell
Stage 3-Joints become misshapen and deformed
Stage 4-No joint remaining and it becomes fused