Arthritis is a debilitating condition that has grappled millions of people worldwide. Such is the suffering from the pain that people almost give up on themselves. However, it must be noted that early detection and treatment are crucial to managing this chronic disease effectively. The same can be done with the help of diagnostic labs that undertake the crucial procedures of screening, diagnosis, and monitoring of arthritis, allowing healthcare professionals to formulate treatment plans tailored to each patient’s needs. So what does it take to chalk out an effective treatment plan for arthritis? Let’s find out in this blog.
The Role of Diagnostic Labs
Diagnostic labs are of great importance for arthritis screening and diagnosis. They are facilitated with state-of-the-art equipment and skilled technicians who conduct a series of tests that help in the detection of arthritis, its nature, and its intensity. Once a detailed analysis of diagnostic reports is available to the healthcare providers, they make informed decisions regarding treatment. Some of the critical functions of diagnostic labs in arthritis management include:
- Early Detection: A diagnostic lab is a one-stop facility for various medical tests that can help in the identification of arthritis at its earliest stages, often before noticeable symptoms appear. Early detection is deemed to be crucial for arthritis as it prevents the progression of the disease and minimizes joint damage.
- Differential Diagnosis: Arthritis is multifaceted. Their forms are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis, each with unique characteristics and treatment requirements. With the intervention of the diagnostic labs, it becomes easy to distinguish between these types, ensuring the most suitable treatment for the patient.
- Disease Monitoring: For individuals already diagnosed with arthritis, diagnostic labs offer a means to monitor the disease’s progression and assess the effectiveness of treatment. Regular testing can also help in changing the course of treatment plans.
Arthritis screening tests
Several diagnostic tests are commonly used to screen for arthritis symptoms. These tests help healthcare professionals pinpoint the type and severity of arthritis, enabling them to tailor treatment plans accordingly.
- Blood Tests: Diagnostic labs often conduct blood tests to detect markers of inflammation and autoimmune activity. Elevated levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) can suggest the presence of inflammation in the body, a hallmark of many types of arthritis.
- Rheumatoid Factor (RF) and Anti-Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide (Anti-CCP) Tests: These tests are meant specifically for the purpose of diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis. The presence of RF and anti-CCP antibodies in the blood can help confirm the diagnosis.
- Imaging Studies: Diagnostic labs bring in their expertise with imaging techniques such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). These testing facilities visualize joint damage and assess the severity of arthritis. The result of these tests and the subsequent studies of the test report enables healthcare professionals to treat the disease and track its progression.
- Joint Fluid Analysis: In cases where a diagnosis is unclear, joint fluid analysis, also known as arthrocentesis, can be performed. This procedure involves removing a small amount of synovial fluid from the affected joint and analyzing it for signs of inflammation or infection.
- HLA-B27 Test: It is basically a genetic test that is often recommended to be done at the diagnostic labs for diagnosing ankylosing spondylitis and other related conditions. The presence of HLA-B27 can indicate a higher risk of developing these types of arthritis.
Once a patient has been screened and diagnostic labs with arthritis, the treatment plan can be tailored to their specific needs. Treatment approaches vary depending on the type and severity of arthritis, but generally include the following components:
- Medications: Some of the commonly used medications for arthritis include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They are helpful in managing pain and inflammation. On the other hand, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) slow down the progression of the disease.
- Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is usually recommended to patients as it can significantly improve joint function, reduce pain, and enhance mobility. Thus, the therapists work with patients to schedule a fixture for exercises and stretches that suit their condition.
- Lifestyle Changes: Lifestyle modifications, such as weight management and low-impact exercises, can help reduce the strain on joints and improve overall health.
- Surgery: After all the relevant tests at the diagnostic labs show that the joint damage is extensive and other treatments have proven ineffective, surgical interventions like joint replacement surgery could well be necessary.
Get in touch with the reputed diagnostic labs in case you experience the symptoms of arthritis or are already undergoing treatment.