Doctor in Apex Rheumatology Clinic
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1. RA factor is a protein (antibody) that is measurable in the blood with a routine blood test.
2. A positive RA factor test is mainly used as a supportive tool in making diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Approximately, 70% of rheumatoid arthritis patients test positive for RA factor.
3. A negative RA factor test does not rule out diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Patients who test negative for RA factor but have signs and symptoms may still be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. This is seen in around 30% patients with rheumatoid arthritis (seronegative).
4. There is no single test to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. The diagnosis is made from a combination physical signs and medical history supported by various blood tests such as RA factor and anti-CCP.
5. The level of RA factor does not correlate with disease activity. It is not used for disease monitoring. If your test is positive then usually there is no need to repeat it again. Other lab tests such as ESR and CRP (Inflammatory markers) can be good markers to monitor treatment response.
6. Rheumatoid arthritis affects different patients in different ways. Rheumatoid arthritis patients with a positive RA factor test have the potential for a more aggressive disease course. Keep in mind this isn’t always the case. If RA factor is tested and symptoms are detected early, a diagnosis can be quickly reached. Treatment should be started as soon as possible to prevent joint damage.
Arthritis is a broad term that describes inflammation of the joints (pain, swelling and redness). Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a disease of immune system. Patient with Rheumatoid arthritis suffer from multiple joint pains and swelling. In severe cases RA can affect eyes, lungs, heart, nerves or blood vessels.
1. What are the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis
The most common symptoms of RA are:
· Pain in multiple joints
· Stiffness on getting up after a period of inactivity or in the morning
· Swelling in one or more joints
· Joint pains worse with rest, better with use
· Fatigue /difficulty in performing routine activities
The most common joints involved are the hands, wrists and feet. The stiffness in the morning generally lasts longer than 45 minutes.
2. How common is rheumatoid arthritis?
In the general population about a 1 in 100 people develop RA. It is three times more common in women than in men.
3. What causes rheumatoid arthritis?
RA is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks patient’s own healthy body tissue. In Rheumatoid arthritis body's immune system attacks normal joint tissues, causing swelling of the joint lining. Once the disease begins the joints become inflamed and, if untreated, the joints, cartilage, and bone can be damaged.
4. Is rheumatoid arthritis hereditary?
If you have a td family member with RA then your risk of developing RA is higher than the general population.You should see a rheumatologist if you have joint symptoms.
5. Is RA a disease of old people?
No. RA is most common in young and middle-aged adults but can also affect children and the elderly.
6. Is there any relation with climate?
Many people think that weather in winter may aggravate the arthritis. This is a misconception. Cold weather may cause more stiffness in the joints, but it will not aggravate or precipitate the arthritis.