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Psoriatic Arthritis Diagnosis

A few of the procedures involved in diagnosing psoriatic arthritis include taking the patient's medical history, performing a physical exam, and recommending certain tests. Some of the tests that may be used as part of a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis include x-rays, blood tests, and a sample of synovial fluid. The healthcare provider will also consider a number of other conditions that can share similar symptoms with psoriatic arthritis. Some of these conditions include gout, fingernail fungus, and rheumatoid arthritis.

An Overview of Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis

There is no one specific test that can be used for diagnosing psoriatic arthritis. Therefore, in order to make a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis, the healthcare provider will begin by asking a number of questions. This is known as taking a person's medical history. Some of these questions may be related to:
  • Current symptoms
  • Other medical conditions, including psoriasis
  • Current medications
  • A family history of any medical conditions, including arthritis and psoriasis.
After asking a number of questions, the healthcare provider will perform a physical exam looking for signs of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. As part of this physical exam, the healthcare provider will examine the joints, skin, reflexes, and muscle strength.
After the medical history and physical exam, the healthcare provider may recommend certain tests to help diagnose psoriatic arthritis.

Tests Used for Diagnosing Psoriatic Arthritis

Some of the tests that your healthcare provider may recommend to help diagnose psoriatic arthritis include:
  • X-rays or other imaging tests
  • Blood tests
  • Other tests.
X-Rays or Other Imaging Tests
Doctors sometimes use x-rays to help diagnose psoriatic arthritis and to rule out other causes of arthritis. X-rays may show swelling of soft tissues and damage to cartilage or bone margins of the joint, especially to the last finger joints (known as distal interphalangeal joints).
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend a magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI). This test can be used to detect joint and soft-tissue inflammation that cannot be seen on x-rays.
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