- Diagnosing RA
RA can be difficult to diagnose
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects everyone differently. Some people will have joint pain, stiffness or fatigue every day, while others will have symptom flare-ups less often. All of these symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Since these symptoms are also common in other conditions, like osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia or lupus, diagnosing RA can be a real challenge.
Only a doctor can determine what your symptoms mean. The first step many people take is going to their family doctor to talk about them. He or she might make a diagnosis, but may often send the patient to a specialist called a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists specialize in joint problems and are the experts when it comes to RA. In fact, they are usually the doctors that make the diagnosis and treat the disease.
Find a rheumatologist in your area with the Arthritis Foundation's locator tool.
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Tools for talking to your doctor
Your personal R.A.P. Sheet can help prepare you for a productive discussion with the rheumatologist.