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Diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Dr. Micha Abeles

Dr. Micha Abeles was a Professor of Medicine and Head of Rheumatology at the University of Connecticut Health Center until he retired from the University in 2016 to focus on his private practice. As a private practice rheumatologist based in Meriden, Connecticut, Dr. Micha Abeles frequently treats patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

When it comes to diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis, there are no test results that definitively identify the disease. Instead, physicians must analyze a patient's medical history, physical exam, laboratory results, and imaging studies for common patterns. Pertinent medical history often involves recent and current symptoms, as well as any family history of rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory disorders. Additionally, upon physical exam, patients often experience bilateral tenderness and swelling in the joints.

In terms of laboratory results, physicians often look for elevated inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). Most patients with rheumatoid arthritis have an antibody known as anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide and/or rheumatoid factor in their blood, which are not sufficient to make a diagnosis on their own, but provide compelling evidence of rheumatoid arthritis. Imaging studies such as x-rays or utlrasounds may also be ordered to assess joint space narrowing or joint damage.

 

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