The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, sometimes referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis or degenerative joint disease. Osteoarthritis affects more than 27 million people in the United States. The primary form of osteoarthritis is usually related to aging, but secondary osteoarthritis can develop as a result of joint injury or obesity. You may be wondering, how do you diagnose arthritis?
If you suspect you have arthritis, or if arthritic symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks, you should see a doctor. An examination will be performed in the doctor’s office, and your medical history will be taken. After your consultation, the doctor will order appropriate laboratory tests and x-rays to confirm the diagnosis of arthritis. Basic tests will be ordered at first, and there may be more complicated tests ordered later on.
The tests determine if you have abnormal signs of inflammation, joint damage or erosions. Rheumatologists are medical doctors who specialize in arthritis and arthritis-related diseases. Rheumatologists are highly qualified diagnosticians and experts regarding treatment options for arthritis. Have your internist or primary doctor refer you to a rheumatologist.