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How is rheumatoid arthritis detected?

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Posted on Thu, 27 Mar 2014
Question: MY DOCTOR SAYS I DON'T HAVE RA BECAUSE THE TESTS WERE NEGATIVE. MY HANDS LOOK LIKE RA. MY FEET ARE GETTING WORSE EVERY DAY. CAN A PERSON HAVE RA EVEN WITHOUT TESTING FOR IT?
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Answered by Dr. Divya Agarwal (36 minutes later)
Brief Answer: the tests for RA may be negative even in RA. Detailed Answer: Hello, There is no test which is the diagnostic test for rheumatoid arthritis. It is a clinical diagnosis. A Rheumatologist diagnoses it by examining your joints, taking your history and offcourse doing a few tests. The tests like rheumatoid factor and anti CCP do help in confirming the diagnosis, however they may be negative in 10-15% of patients. So even in osteoarthritis your hands may look like that of rheumatoid, sine OA also causes swelling and enlargement of joints. So the treating doctor is the best person to decide what exactly you are suffering from. Hope this clarifies your doubt. Let me know if you need clarifications. Regards
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Dr. Divya Agarwal

Rheumatologist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 658 Questions

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How is rheumatoid arthritis detected?

Brief Answer: the tests for RA may be negative even in RA. Detailed Answer: Hello, There is no test which is the diagnostic test for rheumatoid arthritis. It is a clinical diagnosis. A Rheumatologist diagnoses it by examining your joints, taking your history and offcourse doing a few tests. The tests like rheumatoid factor and anti CCP do help in confirming the diagnosis, however they may be negative in 10-15% of patients. So even in osteoarthritis your hands may look like that of rheumatoid, sine OA also causes swelling and enlargement of joints. So the treating doctor is the best person to decide what exactly you are suffering from. Hope this clarifies your doubt. Let me know if you need clarifications. Regards