According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 47 million people in the US have some form of arthritis or chronic joint symptoms. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis.
Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases are often mistakenly associated with old age, because osteoarthritis (the most common form of arthritis) occurs more often among elderly persons. However, arthritis and other rheumatic diseases affect people of all ages.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for arthritis may include the following:
- X-rays or other imaging procedures (to show the extent of damage to the joint)
- blood tests and other laboratory tests, including the following:
- antinuclear antibody (ANA) test (to check levels of antibodies in the blood)
- arthrocentesis or joint aspiration (to remove a sample of the synovial fluid to determine if crystals, bacteria, or viruses are present)
- complete blood count (to determine if white blood cell, red blood cell, and platelet levels are normal)
- creatinine (to monitor for underlying kidney disease)
- erythrocyte sedimentation rate (to detect inflammation)
- hematocrit (to measure the number of red blood cells)
- rheumatoid factor test (to determine if rheumatoid factor is present in the blood)
- urinalysis (to determine levels of protein, red blood cells, white blood cells, and casts)
- white blood cell count (to determine level of white blood cells in the blood)
If you suffer from arthritis and cannot visit your primary care physician soon, we can help you. Call or visit one of our conveniently located clinics.