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Medical Tests to Monitor RA

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Visiting your rheumatologist on a regular basis is very important. Even if the symptoms of the disease (pain, stiffness and swelling) aren't bothering you too much at any given time, inflammation may still be damaging your joints. Your doctor is going to make treatment decisions based on your reported symptoms and how your joints are doing.

Test: X-ray
Measures: The degree of joint destruction
Purpose: X-rays are used to monitor the progression of RA. They help doctors understand the speed at which the disease is affecting your joints.

Test: Sedimentation rate (ESR); also called "sed rate"
Measures: How quickly your red blood cells sink to the bottom of a glass tube
Purpose: Monitors inflammation. It can help determine the "active" level of your RA.

Test: C-reactive protein (CRP)
Measures: The concentration of CRP, a protein in the blood
Purpose: Monitors inflammation

Test: Anti-CCP antibody
Measures: The concentration of antibodies to substances called cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCPs)
Purpose: A helpful diagnostic marker of the disease
Rheumatoid Arthritis Joint Stiffness Pain Inflammation Swelling

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