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South Carolina Arthritis Prevention and Control Program

Screening

Why should I see a doctor?

If you are not sure you have arthritis, then you should see a doctor to be screened (tested) for arthritis. There are over 100 types of arthritis, and treatments vary. Only a doctor can tell you if you have arthritis and what type you have. Early diagnosis is important to determine what type of arthritis you have and what treatment is needed. Getting appropriate treatment can help reduce the effects of arthritis. In some forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, early treatment can affect the course of the disease.

What kind of doctor should I see?

Family doctor: Your family doctor may be able to tell you if you have arthritis. He may also be able to treat some common types of arthritis.

Rheumatologist: Your family doctor may refer you to a doctor who specializes in arthritis. These doctors are known as rheumatologists. Rheumatologists diagnose and treat people with arthritis. Contact your local DHEC health department for information about rheumatologists in your area.

What will happen when I visit the doctor?

Your doctor may ask you the following questions:

  • Where does it hurt?
  • When does it hurt?
  • When did it first begin to hurt?
  • How long has it hurt?
  • Have you noticed any swelling?
  • What daily tasks are hard to do now?
  • Have you ever hurt the joint in an accident or overused it on the job on in a hobby?
  • Has anyone in your family had similar problems?

Your doctor may give you a physical examination. Your doctor may run tests or take X-rays.

Know your health.

Seeing a doctor is the only way to know for sure whether you have arthritis. By visiting a doctor and having a physical exam, you will be taking a positive step toward protecting your health.