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Diagnosis of Arthritis

The diagnosis of arthritis can be difficult because some of the symptoms and signs of Arthritis are common to some other diseases. To diagnose Arthritis, doctors review the symptoms, the age and sex of the patient, medical history of patient and family, physical examination and also, such high-tech tools as X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, (MRI) and lab tests (discussed on the next page). The patient needs to visit the doctor more than once to make a more accurate diagnosis. Some of the details of the diagnosis are described below:

Medical History of Patient and Family

Doctors review the complete medical history of patient with joint pain. Doctors try to find out the following factors for accurate diagnosis:

  • How often does the pain occurs and how long it last
  • When did the pain occurred first
  • Is the pain in one or more joints
  • Physical activity has any effect on pain
  • Is there a family history of any arthritis or rheumatic diseases
  • What kind of treatment done in past
  • It may be helpful for people to keep a daily journal that describes the pain. Patients should write down what the affected joint looks like, how it feels, how long the pain lasts, and what they were doing when the pain started.

    Thorough Physical Examination

    The doctors examine all of the patient's joints for redness, warmth, deformity, ease of movement, tenderness, etc. Because some forms of arthritis can affect other organs. Thus a complete physical examination including the heart, lungs, abdomen, nervous system, and eyes, ears, throat, etc. may be necessary.

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