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Is it difficult to get an RA diagnosis?

Community Answers
  • Kelly Dabel moderator
    2 years ago

    It can be difficult, but not always. It depends a lot on your doctor and their knowledge of RA. Some early symptoms may be mistaken for something else. There is no single test or symptom to diagnose RA, it is based on several factors including labs, symptoms, medical history, stiffness, joints affected, sometimes x-rays and always, a Physician’s assessment. In addition to speaking with your doctor, here is a great overview of what’s involved in diagnosing RA that may be helpful to you:

  • Erin Rush moderator
    2 years ago

    while it can be tricky to get a correct diagnosis, many of our members have found the process to be relatively quick. A lot depends on your physician and the relationship you have with him/her. Having a physician that is knowledgeable about your medical history and that listens to you can make the process of diagnosis quicker. Here is information from our editorial team on what tests a physician uses to diagnose RA — If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are happy to help!

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    It can often be difficult and frustrating to obtain an RA diagnosis, in fact this article from our editorial team deals with exactly this issue: In addition, here is an article looking at the medical process behind achieving a diagnosis:

  • Kelly Mack moderator
    2 years ago

    Getting an RA diagnosis can take time and lots of doctor’s visits. Unfortunately, autoimmune diseases are complex and so a diagnosis is not simple. Additionally, symptoms can be similar to other conditions, so it is a process to rule out other possible diagnoses. Your doctor may need to conduct a variety of tests, in addition to an examination. You may also be referred to a rheumatologist, who specializes in autoimmune diseases. Learn more about the process and possible tests from this article:

  • Wren moderator
    2 years ago

    Yes. RA presents so notoriously differently in different patients, it’s frequently diagnosed incorrectly, and frequently more than once. Disease indicators such as the RF factor in the blood, elevated CRP levels and sedimentation rates may not be there in some patients. So complaints of symptoms like stiffness, joint pain, and fatigue are misdiagnosed. I’ve heard of some patients who waited for a diagnosis for five years or more.

  • Mariah Z. Leach moderator
    2 years ago

    RA affects every individual a little bit differently, so in some cases an accurate diagnosis can be a bit difficult to come by. Unfortunately, there is no single test that definitively determines whether or not someone has RA. Instead, an RA diagnosis is made from a combination of blood tests, x-rays, medical history, and physical exam. Here’s an article that explains more about the criteria used to diagnose RA:

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