The Diagnosis Of Rheumatoid Arthritis

1611 Words Oct 15th, 2015 7 Pages
Since this disease has chronic, systemic, autoimmune, and inflammatory characteristics, the initial diagnosis is rarely rheumatoid arthritis. The common use of the term arthritis “can oversimplify the nature of the varied disease processes and the difficulty in differentiating one from another” (Grossman, 2014, p. 1499). The diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis is “made clinically based primarily on physical examination findings” (Gibofsky, 2012, p. 295), which can be a cause of misdiagnosis, since many diseases have overlapping presentations.
The insidious onset of this disease produces manifestations such as joint pain, swelling of hands, feet, and knees, fatigue, malaise, and furthermore anorexia. Since RA is characterized by systemic joint inflammation, there are numerous other illnesses that share the same ailments. Similar signs and symptoms of this disease are also found in patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis, which is inflammation of the bones. However, unlike RA, osteoarthritis is not autoimmune and is caused from everyday wear and tear of the body. Osteoarthritis tends to have a gradual, slow onset with pain affecting only areas of bone damage, where RA is systemic rapidly progressive, and can lead to widespread fatigue. Ankylosing spondylitis is also a systemic inflammation process but with that of the spinal column joints. Fibromyalgia, a medical condition characterized by widespread joint pain, can be ruled out in a patient with RA due to the fact that…
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