Diagnosing juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can often be very difficult because joint pain is usually caused due to several different types of problems. Moreover, there is no single test so as to confirm diagnosis, but these tests can often be useful in ruling out other conditions which also produce similar signs & symptoms.
- Blood Tests – Some of the most common blood tests which are conducted for suspected cases of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis include the following.
- ESR – Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate – Sedimentation rate is basically the speed at which red blood cells settle at the bottom of a test tube. Elevated sed-rates generally indicate inflammation. ESR measurement is normally used to rule out a number of other conditions. This will eventually help rheumatologists classify the type of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis & to determine the extent of inflammation.
- C-Reactive Proteins – This blood test will also measure the level of general inflammation in body, but at a scale which is different from that of ESR.
- Anti-Nuclear Antibody – These are proteins which are commonly produced by immune system of patients with certain types of autoimmune diseases including arthritis.
- Rheumatoid Factor – This is an antibody which is commonly found in blood of children with rheumatoid arthritis.
- CCP – Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide – CCP is another antibody like the rheumatoid factor, which is found in blood of children with rheumatoid arthritis.
However, no significant abnormality is commonly found in these blood tests among many children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
- Imaging Tests – These include X-Rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) which is taken in order to exclude other conditions like the following.
- Congenital Defects
Imaging tests are also performed from time to time following diagnosis in order to monitor development of bone in children & for detection of joint damage.