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Diagnostic Tests for Polymyalgia rheumatica

Polymyalgia rheumatica: Diagnostic Tests

The list of diagnostic tests mentioned in various sources as used in the diagnosis of Polymyalgia rheumatica includes:

Home Diagnostic Testing

These home medical tests may be relevant to Polymyalgia rheumatica:

Tests and diagnosis discussion for Polymyalgia rheumatica:

No single test is available to definitively diagnose polymyalgia rheumatica. To diagnose the condition, a physician considers the patientís medical history, including symptoms that the patient reports, and results of laboratory tests that can rule out other possible diagnoses.

The most typical laboratory finding in people with polymyalgia rheumatica is an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate, commonly referred to as the sed rate. This test measures how quickly red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube of unclotted blood. Rapidly descending cells (an elevated sed rate) indicate inflammation in the body. While the sed rate measurement is a helpful diagnostic tool, it alone does not confirm polymyalgia rheumatica. An abnormal result indicates only that tissue is inflamed, which also is a symptom of many forms of arthritis and/ or other rheumatic diseases. Before making a diagnosis of polymyalgia rheumatica, the doctor may perform additional tests to rule out other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, because symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica and rheumatoid arthritis can be similar.

The doctor may recommend a test for rheumatoid factor (RF). RF is an antibody sometimes found in the blood. (An antibody is a special protein made by the immune system.) People with rheumatoid arthritis are likely to have RF in their blood, but most people with polymyalgia rheumatica do not. If the diagnosis still is unclear, a physician may conduct additional tests to rule out other disorders. (Source: excerpt from Questions and Answers About Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis: NIAMS)

 

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