Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose in its early stages because the early signs and symptoms mimic those of many other diseases. There is no one blood test or physical finding to confirm the diagnosis.
During the physical exam, your doctor will check your joints for swelling, redness and warmth. He or she may also check your reflexes and muscle strength.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for People with rheumatoid arthritis often have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate) or C-reactive protein (CRP), which may indicate the presence of an inflammatory process in the body. Other common blood tests look for rheumatoid factor and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies.
Your doctor may recommend X-rays to help track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in your joints over time. MRI and ultrasound tests can help your doctor judge the severity of the disease in your body.
There is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. But clinical studies indicate that remission of symptoms is more likely when treatment begins early with medications known as disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs).
The types of medications recommended by your doctor will depend on the severity of your symptoms and how long you''t an option. Total joint replacement. During joint replacement surgery, your surgeon removes the damaged parts of your joint and inserts a prosthesis made of metal and plastic.
Surgery carries a risk of bleeding, infection and pain. Discuss the benefits and risks with your doctor.
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for More Information
Arthritis Curehow to Arthritis Cure for Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this disease.
Lifestyle and home remedies
You the 1 last update 2020/05/31 can take steps to care for your body if you have rheumatoid arthritis. These self-care measures, when used along with your rheumatoid arthritis medications, can help you manage your signs and symptoms:You can take steps to care for your body if you have rheumatoid arthritis. These self-care measures, when used along with your rheumatoid arthritis medications, can help you manage your signs and symptoms:
- Exercise regularly. Gentle exercise can help strengthen the muscles around your joints, and it can help fight fatigue you might feel. Check with your doctor before you start exercising. If you''acces-list-container rc-list''t do any moves that cause pain.
Coping and support
The pain and disability associated with for 1 last update 2020/05/31 rheumatoid arthritis can affect a person''ll learn what strategies work best for you. In the meantime, try to:The pain and disability associated with rheumatoid arthritis can affect a person''ll learn what strategies work best for you. In the meantime, try to:
- Take control. With your doctor, make a plan for managing your arthritis. This will help you feel in charge of your disease.
- Know your limits. Rest when you''t interfere with nighttime sleep may help.
- Connect with others. Keep your family aware of how you''re feeling especially overwhelmed. Also connect with other people who have rheumatoid arthritis — whether through a support group in your community or online.
- Take time for yourself. It''s time to write in a journal, go for a walk or listen to music. This can help reduce stress.
Preparing for your appointment
While you might first discuss your symptoms with your family doctor, he or she may refer you to a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions (rheumatologist) for further evaluation.
What you can do
Write a list that includes:
- Detailed descriptions of your symptoms
- Information about medical problems you''s Clinical Advisor 2019. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2019. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 5, 2019.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/rheumatoid-arthritis. Accessed Jan. 5, 2019.
- Gabriel SE, et al. Epidemiology of, risk factors for, and possible causes of rheumatoid arthritis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 31, 2018.
- Venables PJW, et al. Diagnosis and differential diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 31, 2018.
- Moreland LW, et al. General principles of management of rheumatoid arthritis in adults. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search, Accessed Dec. 31, 2018.
- Singh JA, et al. 2015 American College of Rheumatology guideline for the treatment of arthritis. Arthritis Care & Research. 2016;68:1.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Arthritis: Caring for your joints. Rochester Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2017.
- Living with arthritis. American Occupational Therapy Association. https://www.aota.org/About-Occupational-Therapy/Patients-Clients/Adults/Arthritis.aspx. Accessed Dec. 31, 2018.
- Weisman MH, et al. Total joint replacement for severe rheumatoid arthritis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 31, 2018.