We often think that arthritis is just a part of getting older and that 1) we don’t need to see the doctor and 2) there’s nothing that can be done. But as a rheumatologist, I couldn’t disagree more! Arthritis may be a part of getting older, but PAIN doesn’t have to be and it definitely deserves a conversation (or two) with your doctor. Learn what you can expect during that visit in the above video.
As with most doctor appointments, when you see your doctor for arthritis or joint pain they will need to hear about your experience of the pain. What makes it worse? What makes it better? They will also examine, not only the joint giving you trouble, but all of your joints. At that point the doctor will either be able to tell you right away if you have osteoarthritis or may need to order blood tests and/or x-rays to see if something else is going on. What else could be going on? Well, there are different types of arthritis, some of which can only be diagnosed with the addition of blood work.
What labs could you expect to get done? Your doctor will most likely check your inflammation level, your Rheumatoid Factor and maybe an ANA (anti-nuclear antibody).
These are labs done when the doctor is concerned about autoimmune or inflammatory arthritis, but as we discussed in previous posts, they can be tricky to interpret. (Click here to learn more about ANA or Rheumatoid Factor). What you may have thought would be a quick appointment, may end up with multiple tests ordered and a referral for a specialists. Being prepared for this possibility & you are sure to have a smooth doctor’s appointment!
In good health,