A Rheumatoid Factor test (RF) is used to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory types of arthritis. A blood test used to screen for rheumatoid arthritis.
Quick Jump Table
What rheumatoid factor test measures?
A rheumatoid factor test measures the amount of rheumatoid factor in your blood. Rheumatoid factors are proteins produced by your immune system that can attack healthy tissue in your body.
High levels of rheumatoid factor in the blood are most often associated with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome. But rheumatoid factor may be detected in some healthy people, and people with autoimmune diseases sometimes have normal levels of rheumatoid factor.
What is the rheumatoid factor?
Rheumatoid factor (RF) are a protein made by your immune system that can attack healthy tissue in your body. Healthy people don’t make RF. So, RF in your blood can show that you have an autoimmune disease.
Sometimes people with no medical problems produce a small amount of RF. That’s very rare, and doctors don’t fully understand why it happens.
What are the causes of rheumatoid arthritis?
Your doctor may order a blood test to check for RF if they suspect you have an autoimmune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome. Other health problems that can cause higher-than-normal levels of RF to include:
- chronic infection
- cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver
- cryoglobulinemia, which means there are or abnormal proteins in the blood
- dermatomyositis, which is an inflammatory muscle disease
- inflammatory lung disease
- mixed connective tissue disease
Some health problems may cause elevated RF levels, but this protein alone is not used to diagnose these conditions. These illnesses include:
What are the symptoms RA factor?
Doctors commonly order this test for people who have symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, which includes:
- joint stiffness
- increased joint pain and stiffness in the morning
- nodules under the skin
- a loss of cartilage
- bone loss
- warmth and swelling of the joints
Your doctor may also order tests to diagnose Sjogren’s syndrome, a condition in which your white blood cells attack the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of your eyes and mouth.
The symptoms of this chronic autoimmune condition are primarily dry mouth and eyes, but they can also include extreme fatigue and joint and muscle pain.
Sjogren’s syndrome primarily occurs in women and sometimes appears with other autoimmune conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis.
RA factor normal range
The “normal” range (or negative test result) for the rheumatoid factor is less than 15 IU/ml. Any result with values of 15 IU/ml or above is considered abnormally high, elevated, or positive.
What does rheumatoid factor test result mean?
Testing positive for rheumatoid does not mean the patient has rheumatoid arthritis. A positive for rheumatoid factor test results means it can lead to or cause inflammatory symptoms from an autoimmune disorder.
In certain cases, however, patients may test positive for rheumatoid factor, yet remain healthy and experience no obvious symptoms.
Rheumatoid factor can be present in patients several months or even years before clinical rheumatoid arthritis symptoms develop. Depending on the level of symptoms a patient exhibits, the rheumatoid factor test results can assist doctors in reaching a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis.
Positive rheumatoid factor results in someone who has been clinically diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis may also show the potential for a more aggressive disease course. This is possible in both children and adult patients.
Patients who test negative for rheumatoid factor but still exhibit symptoms and meet other diagnostic criteria may still be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis
A rheumatoid factor test is one of a group of blood tests primarily used to help pinpoint a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. These other tests may include:
- Anti-nuclear antibody (ANA)
- Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP) antibodies
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR, or sed rate)
Learn about progesterone hormone
©healthcare nt sickcare and healthcarentsickcare.com, 2017-Till Date. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full credit is given to healthcare nt sickcare and healthcarentsickcare.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.