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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.

Imaging Scans 

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