Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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 will also check your reflexes and muscle strength.

Blood tests

People with rheumatoid arthritis tend to have an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate), which indicates 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.

X-rays

Your doctor may recommend X-rays to help track the progression of rheumatoid arthritis in your joints over time.

Jul. 27, 2013

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