Rheumatoid arthritis can be complicated. Many people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis will tell you that it took some time before they were given a definitive diagnosis. Even if doctors suspect rheumatoid arthritis early on, there is no single test or piece of evidence that confirms the diagnosis. A blend of findings from a patient’s medical history, physical examination, laboratory tests, and imaging studies must all be considered, so a diagnosis and the selection of arthritis treatment in Jacksonville, FL, can be tricky. There are also several medical conditions with similar symptoms. Here are some conditions that can mimic rheumatoid arthritis.
Post-Viral Arthritis – Chronic and acute and viral infections can sometimes result in a polyarthritis that looks just like rheumatoid arthritis clinically.
Lupus – Systemic lupus erythematosus can be associated with joint difficulties that mimic rheumatoid arthritis, but lupus differs by rarely being an erosive disease.
Scleroderma – A comprehensive chemistry panel, a complete blood count, and serologic studies (antinuclear, anticentromere, and antitopoisomerase antibodies) are usually ordered when a patient is suspected of having scleroderma.
Osteoarthritis – The absence of symptoms and signs of systemic inflammation, onset in older adulthood, and a pattern of asymmetric joint involvement, are often enough to distinguish osteoarthritis from rheumatoid arthritis.
Gout – Acute gout usually is associated with asymmetric inflammation and arthritis, but gout attacks can become more frequent, last longer, and may not resolve, leading to chronic gouty arthropathy. It can be distinguished from rheumatoid arthritis by the absence of joint space narrowing and the absence of periarticular osteopenia.