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How to diagnose Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis By Dr Poonam Sachdev , Expert Content / Jan 21, 2013
How to diagnose Osteoarthritis

The disease named Osteoarthritis usually affecting older people do not really have a definite test for diagnosis.We have however brought for you the possible tests that are in use.

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that affects older adults (people over 50 years of age). Currently there is no definitive test to diagnose the condition and your doctor will take a complete medical history and do examination of your joints and muscles to diagnose the probable cause of your symptoms. Osteoarthritis is basically a clinical diagnosis and tests may be recommended only if your doctor wants to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms, such as rheumatoid arthritis or a fractured bone.

 

[Read: What does Osteoarthritis mean?]

 

Osteoarthritis is suspected clinically if you:

  • are over 50 years of age
  • have joint pain, which worsen through the day with use of the joints
  • stiffness is not a major problem or even if you have stiffness it lasts no longer than half an hour.

 

[Read: Risk Factors of Osteoarthritis]

 

Medical history and physical examination: Your doctor may ask questions regarding location of the pain, time and pattern of the pain, stiffness of the joint and any other associated symptoms. Tests such as X-rays or blood tests, imaging studies, joint fluid analysis may be done if your doctor wants to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.


Imaging Studies: Your doctor may recommend imaging tests like x-rays (radiographs), MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans) or CT scan.

 

  • X-rays: Many people with changes of osteoarthritis on x-rays may have symptoms such as pain or swelling. The X-rays changes of osteoarthritis include narrowing of the space between the joint (articular surface), osteophytes, cyst formation, and hardening of the underlying bone. However changes of osteoarthritis on x-rays are observed late in the course of disease.

 

  • CT scan: CT scans provide more precise and detailed information about bones, joints and soft tissuesthan plain x-rays. Bone and jointchanges of osteoarthritis are observed earlier on CT scan as compared to X-rays.

 

  • MRI: This study is a painless, non-invasive complex, imaging technique which provides better information of the bones, joint and surrounding tissue than X-rays. All structures within the joint can be visualized on MRI. But an expert is needed to interpret the images.

 

[Read: Treatment for Osteoarthritis]

 

Joint fluid analysis: Your doctor may take fluid from the affected joint in case the diagnosis is uncertain or if an infection is suspected.

Blood tests: Currently there are no blood tests or marker for this disease that can diagnose OA. Blood tests may be done if infection is suspected.

 

Read more articles on Osteoarthritis

 

 

Written by
Dr Poonam Sachdev
Source: Expert ContentJan 21, 2013

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