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Diagnosing Arthritis and Other Rheumatic Diseases

Diagnosis of pediatric arthritis and other rheumatic diseases:

Diagnosing pediatric arthritis and other rheumatic diseases is often difficult, as many symptoms are similar among the different diseases. To make an accurate diagnosis, your child's physician may need to conduct the following:

What is involved in reviewing your child's medical history?

When reviewing your child's medical history, your physician may ask the following questions about your child:

What is involved in laboratory testing?

The following is a list of common laboratory tests used for the diagnosis of pediatric arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases:

What imaging techniques may be used to diagnose pediatric arthritis and other rheumatic diseases?

Imaging techniques may give your child's physician a clearer picture of what is happening to your child's joint(s). Imaging techniques may include:

How is pain measured?

Measurement of pain may help your child's physician find a diagnosis and determine appropriate treatment. The measurement, or assessment, of pain may be difficult in younger children and infants, due to their inability to verbalize qualities such as location, duration, or intensity of pain, as well as factors which may cause pain. Your observations of your very young child or infant will be helpful in aiding the physician's pain assessment.

You or your child (if he/she is of an appropriate age to participate) may be asked to describe the pain on a scale of one to 10 and/or using certain descriptive words. Other pain scales use pictures of faces that are smiling and gradually change to an expression of extreme pain - the child points to the face that he/she thinks best matches his/her own pain. The child's age and stage of development, as well as factors such as culture, earlier pain experiences, the child's temperament, and even your response to your child's pain is considered.

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Online Resources of Pediatric Arthritis & Other Rheumatic Diseases

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