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Medical History and Physical Exam for Rheumatoid Arthritis


Table of Contents


Medical History and Physical Exam for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Exam Overview

Your medical history and current medical condition help your doctor diagnose and/or evaluate rheumatoid arthritis. To assess your medical history, your doctor may ask:

During the physical exam, your doctor may look at, feel, and move each joint and evaluate it for:

During the exam, your doctor may also do a routine evaluation of the lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys.

Why It Is Done

The medical history and physical exam are routine parts of any medical evaluation.

Results

Important findings in the physical exam include the:

Rheumatoid arthritis often causes painful, swollen, "hot" joints and often affects the same joints on both sides of the body. Your doctor will note the location of affected joints, as well as other symptoms, to find out whether your condition meets the criteria for a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.

What To Think About

Physical findings are an important part of the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and are also used to evaluate the success of treatment.

Complete the medical test information form (PDF) to help you prepare for this test.

Credits for Medical History and Physical Exam for Rheumatoid Arthritis

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology
Last Revised June 5, 2012

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