Reactive Arthritis Diagnosis
Reactive arthritis can be difficult to diagnose because there is no specific laboratory test to confirm that a person has it. The patient may be referred to a rheumatologist, depending on the severity of symptoms.
Here are some of the methods used to diagnose reactive arthritis:
- Physical Examination. The doctor will ask about the patient's medical history, symptoms and current medical problems. He will examine the joints for signs of inflammation and test their range of motion. The eyes, skin, and pelvic and genital areas are also examined.
- Laboratory tests. Blood, urine and stool sample tests can help rule out other conditions and confirm the diagnosis. Tests will be done to check for many things, including high levels of inflammation; antibodies linked to other types of arthritis; signs of a current or recent infection; and a gene called HLA B27, which is sometimes seen in people with this disease.
- Tissue samples. Samples of tissue from the throat, urethra (men) and cervix (women) may be taken to look for signs of this disease.
- Joint fluid tests. The doctor may take a sample of joint fluid from the knee to look for signs of infection or inflammation. It will also be examined for the presence of uric acid crystals, which may signal an arthritis-related condition called gout.
- X-rays. The doctor may order views of the joints, pelvis and spine to look for signs of swelling, joint damage, calcium deposits and other signs of reactive arthritis.
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