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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How is rheumatoid arthritis diagnosed?

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    Thanks

    Dr Anna Dorai Raj

    Rheumatologist

    Completed Rheumatology Training in 1998 and started working in Private Practice in 1999 in Canberra. Visiting Medical Officer at Canberra Hospital. Lecturer at Australian National … View Profile

    Rheumatoid arthritis is diagnosed when patients have pain in the joints
    which we consider inflammatory pain. That is pain that is worse after resting. Patients often have stiffness in the mornings after resting, which is different to other types of joint pain.

    Rheumatoid arthritis has a symmetrical pattern to the arthritis, as in having both hands involved, or both feet involved. That helps with the diagnosis. We also use blood tests to help us.

    Sometimes patients can have normal blood tests, so it is important not to be put off by a normal blood test. The symptoms also help to make the diagnosis, and the other part of it is always to exclude other causes of the joint pains themselves in making the diagnosis.

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