The Arthritis Foundation claims that some form of arthritis afflicts more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children. Women have a higher chance of getting arthritis, as well as older people.
When left alone, people with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) will have a higher likelihood of experiencing other serious conditions, such as atherosclerosis — a disease that affects the arteries. That is why getting laboratory tests to diagnose and monitor the disease early on is crucial.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis is a general term that refers to inflammation affecting the joints. Although joint inflammation is considered a symptom rather than a specific disease, people often used the term arthritis when referring to joint disorders.
Many types of arthritis are known today, with some evolving into serious conditions that begin affecting other organs in the body.
Fortunately, modern test measures and treatments can allow most individuals with arthritis to continue leading active and productive lives.
What Causes Arthritis?
Cartilage is a firm yet flexible tissue that connects bones to our joints. It protects the joints by absorbing the shock and pressure generated when moving around and applying stress on them. Some forms of arthritis can happen when there is a reduction in the body’s normal amount of cartilage tissue.
Meanwhile, osteoarthritis (OA), a highly prevalent form of arthritis, is often caused by the normal wear and tear of our joints. Injuries and infections to the joints can hasten the natural breakdown of cartilage as well. At the same time, people with a family history of the condition have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis.
There is also rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder that happens when the immune system starts to attack body tissue. Such attacks harm the synovium — a soft joint tissue that is responsible for producing the fluid that helps lubricate and nourish both joints and cartilage.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease affecting the synovium, which results in the destruction of a joint. This is the common outcome if the condition is left undiagnosed and untreated.
Although scientists still do not know the exact cause of RA, some researchers have found that genetic markers can increase a person’s risk of developing the disease.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Arthritis?
The symptoms of arthritis can include the following:
- Breathing problems
- Swelling, redness, and pain in the joints
- Weight loss
- Itch or rash
- Difficulties when moving
In terms of rheumatoid arthritis, a person may experience appetite loss or constant tiredness due to the inflammation caused by unstable immune system activity. Patients may also become feverish and anemic — a condition where red blood cells are diminished.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, getting arthritis tests can help you confirm whether you are afflicted with arthritis or not.
Types of Arthritis
There are more than 100 kinds of arthritis, as well as related conditions. For you to find the best treatment, including management strategies, you must be able to determine what type of arthritis you have.
As osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have already been discussed, here are the other types of arthritis that have not yet been mentioned.
Juvenile arthritis (JA) is an umbrella term that refers to the types of arthritis that affect children. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), formerly called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, is the most common of all JA. This is an autoimmune problem that severely impacts the joints of young individuals.
JIA commonly occurs in children that are younger than 16. It is known to cause:
- Joint misalignment
- Changes in growth patterns
- Bone erosion
- Muscle and soft tissue tightening
A young person experiencing continuous aching joints, fatigue, swelling, stiffness, and fevers for months may have juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
The other less common manifestations of JA are:
- Juvenile lupus
- Juvenile dermatomyositis
- Juvenile scleroderma
- Kawasaki disease
- Mixed connective tissue disease
Is your child experiencing any of the symptoms of juvenile arthritis? Get a lab test for them today.
Another form of arthritis, gout, occurs when there is a high level of urate crystals in the joints. People who have significant amounts of uric acid in their blood are at risk of gout.
According to a study, gout affects 3.9% of adults in the United States. The risk of developing gout depends on one’s diet, age, alcohol consumption, and family history.
A person who has gout will experience excruciating pain. Although joints in other parts can get involved, a joint located at the base of the big toe is the most likely area to be affected.
Gout patients may experience intense pain, redness, and swelling in their:
Men and overweight individuals have the highest risk of getting it. Although gout cannot be cured, some treatments can help manage its symptoms.
If you believe you have gout, you should have it diagnosed quickly before it worsens.
Many Americans have been diagnosed with lupus or systemic lupus erythematosus, yet it is believed that many more are suffering from it without knowing they have this deadly disease.
Lupus is considered an autoimmune disorder since it affects the joints and causes the body to fight against healthy tissue. This condition may also harm the following organs:
Women have a higher chance of being afflicted by lupus compared to men. It often affects those with African American ancestry and mostly appears between the ages of 15 and 44.
Since it is categorized as an autoimmune disorder, the Arthritis National Research Foundation is open to providing grants to interested researchers studying remedies and cures for lupus.
Are you experiencing any of these lupus symptoms? Getting an appropriate lab test to confirm lupus and have it treated quickly is crucial.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is an autoimmune disorder wherein patients experience stiffness, pain, and swelling in their joints, including surrounding tissues.
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 30% out of all psoriasis patients around the world will develop psoriatic arthritis. It often develops in people who are between the ages of 30 and 50.
Patients commonly notice that their fingers change to a pink-like color as their nails begin to degrade. However, PsA can also affect any part of the body, and the severity of the disease ranges from mild to severe.
Besides the symptoms above, people with psoriatic arthritis experience the silvery scales and red skin patches that are common among psoriasis patients as well.
Although no single test can fully confirm psoriatic arthritis, getting a blood test and imaging are two ways that can help your physician assist you.
Common Arthritis Tests for Diagnosing and Monitoring Arthritis
Laboratory tests play a vital role in identifying and monitoring the various types of arthritis. Lab tests are necessary to confirm arthritis diagnosis, monitor disease progress, and check if current medications are causing potentially harmful side effects to the patient.
The following are the commonly used arthritis tests to diagnose and monitor arthritis:
- Antinuclear antibody: Antinuclear antibody, also called ANA, is a test that detects the presence of abnormal blood proteins, which could suggest the presence of rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
- Rheumatoid factor: A rheumatoid factor (RF) test analyzes and measures the antibody levels acting against a specific blood component of a patient. An RF test is often used to confirm psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide: This blood test looks for the presence of anti-CCP antibodies that are prevalent among people with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Uric acid: This test measures the uric acid level in a patient’s blood, which helps in diagnosing gout.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate: A sed rate test measures the rate that red blood cells attach, fall, and settle and is used to determine inflammation.
- C-reactive protein: A c-reactive protein (CRP) blood test is used in diagnosing lupus, psoriatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Benefits of Arthritis Lab Testing With Ulta Lab Tests
At Ulta Lab Tests, we can provide you with the arthritis tests you need so you can obtain proper treatment in case you have rheumatoid arthritis. You can get your tests done at one of our 2,100 approved patient service centers and receive your medical results within a few business days.
Our testing process is simple and confidential, and it’s up to you whether you want to share your test results with your physician. Let us help you get tested for arthritis today.
Ulta Lab Test offers tests that are highly accurate and reliable, so you can make informed decisions about your health. With Ulta Lab Tests, you get:
- Secure and confidential results
- No insurance or referral needed
- Affordable pricing, including doctor’s order
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
Order your arthritis lab test today, and your results will be sent to you confidentially online. Once you’ve received your results, consult with your physician for further details about the results of your test.
Stay on top of your health and track your progress with Ulta Lab Tests.