Reactive Arthritis Diagnosis

Because no single test exists for reactive arthritis, your healthcare provider may use a combination of your medical history, physical exam, and test results to make a diagnosis. Tests such as x-rays and blood tests also can help your doctor diagnosis reactive arthritis. Your doctor will also rule out other conditions (such as gout or rheumatoid arthritis) that share similar symptoms with reactive arthritis.

How Is a Reactive Arthritis Diagnosis Made?

There is no single specific test that can be used for diagnosing reactive arthritis (also known as Reiter's syndrome). Therefore, in order to make a diagnosis, your healthcare provider will begin by asking a number of questions. This is known as getting a person's medical history. Some of these questions may be related to:
 
  • Current or recent symptoms, including flu-like symptoms, such as fever, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Other medical conditions
  • Current medications
  • Any recent infections
  • A family history of any medical conditions, including arthritis.
     
After asking several questions, your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam, looking for reactive arthritis symptoms. The physical exam includes the healthcare provider examining the joints, skin, reflexes, and muscle strength.
 
After the medical history and physical exam, the healthcare provider may recommend certain tests to help make a reactive arthritis diagnosis.
 

Tests Used for Diagnosing Reactive Arthritis

Certain tests your healthcare provider may recommend to help diagnose reactive arthritis include:
 
  • X-rays
  • Blood tests
  • Other tests.
     
X-rays
Doctors sometimes use x-rays to help confirm a reactive arthritis diagnosis and to rule out other causes of arthritis. X-rays can detect some of the signs of reactive arthritis, including:
 
  • Spondylitis
  • Sacroiliitis
  • Swelling of soft tissues
  • Damage to cartilage or bone margins of the joint
  • Calcium deposits where the tendon attaches to the bone.
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Reactive Arthritis Information

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