Some Arthritis Laboratory Tests That Help Your Doctor Diagnose And Treat Your Condition

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If you have pain and stiffness in your joints, your doctor may suspect you have arthritis. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order imaging scans such as an MRI or CT scan to take a closer look at your joints internally. Your doctor may also send you to a lab for blood testing that helps diagnose arthritis and the type of arthritis you have. Here are some of the blood tests you may have done by the lab and how your doctor uses them.

Tests That Detect Inflammation

There are two blood tests that reveal the amount of inflammation in your body. One is the CRP, or C-reactive protein test, and the other is the ESR, or erythrocyte sedimentation rate test. If these tests have high results, it lets the doctor know you have damaging inflammation in your body. By looking at the results, the doctor can tell if your inflammation is severe or mild. The tests show the presence of inflammation, but they don't necessarily diagnose arthritis. Your doctor will take these blood test results into consideration along with other test results to determine if the inflammation is caused by arthritis.

Laboratory Tests That Help Diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis

If you have rheumatoid arthritis, your body will probably make antibodies. These can be detected in your blood through lab tests that measure the amount of rheumatoid factor and anti-CCP antibodies. Rheumatoid factor isn't always present in people with rheumatoid arthritis and when it is absent, the arthritis is generally milder than when it is detected in the blood. A blood test that checks for antinuclear antibodies can also be useful in diagnosing arthritis. If these antibodies are present, it indicates the body is attacking itself and that you could have an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

How The Test Results Are Used By Your Doctor

The arthritis lab tests give your doctor an indication of the level of inflammation in your body. Considered along with your symptoms and imaging scans, your doctor can use these tests to formulate a treatment plan for your arthritis. The initial laboratory tests act as a baseline for comparing how well the treatments work. One goal of arthritis treatment is to reduce inflammation, so your doctor may regularly order lab tests that check your CRP and ESR to see how well the treatments are reducing your inflammation. Lower results could indicate the treatment is working well, and if your inflammation markers are still high, the doctor may try a different medication or different form of treatment.

Your arthritis lab results are very important in helping your doctor manage your condition whether you have rheumatoid arthritis or a different type. Finding the right treatment could mean your days are filled with less pain and your joints stay flexible for as long as possible. Contact a provider, such as at Arthritis Associates of Kingsport, for more help.