DEAR DOCTOR K: My doctor suspects I have rheumatoid arthritis, but she wants to test me for several other disorders, including lupus and gout. Why?
DEAR READER: Several other diseases can cause symptoms and joint changes that are similar to rheumatoid arthritis (RA), including lupus and gout. That's probably why your doctor is ordering the tests. She suspects you have RA, but she won't know for sure unless she rules out these other diseases.