A rheumatoid arhtirtis diagnosis is based on several criteria including physical symptoms, family and medical history, and blood and other diagnostic rheumatoid arthritis diagnostic. The rheumatologist will work with the patient and the patient’s primary care physician to reach a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis and provide treatment. To reach a diagnosis, physicians follow a set procedure looking for multiple criteria, rather than one individual test. This includes examining physical symptoms, looking at family and medical history, and performing blood and other diagnostic tests.
Some cases may be easier to diagnose than others, especially in the early stages of developing symptoms when symptoms may be less clear. Doctors work hard to ensure they’ve looked at all possibilities and that their examination and testing results are consistent with most cases of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis has a clear set of early signs and symptoms that lead doctors to consider it as a diagnosis. If these symptoms have been a concern for more than six consecutive weeks, doctors may consider these as symptoms specific to rheumatoid arthritis as opposed to other types of arthritis, like osteoarthritis. Doctors may also look for and ask about symptoms like fatigue, low-grade fever, loss of appetite, and even feelings of depression and malaise. A full physical examination helps doctors find these symptoms and look at joints for tenderness, swelling, soreness, warmth, and redness.
They ask about difficulties moving joints and decreases in range of motion. Symptoms may come and go but typically, they do not. The patient’s medical history and family history are important factors in helping to reach a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis. However, if there is a family history of the disease, the risk of another family member developing rheumatoid arthritis increases. Therefore, genetics are a contributing factor in addition to other factors. Depending on each patient’s unique set of answers, it can help doctors identify factors that lead to a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis.