Positive Rheumatoid Factor and other blood work

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Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2003
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 4/3/2009 8:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi friends,
I am new to the arthritis board, but check in with the folks on the Crohn's board more frequently.  I am currently experiencing a lot of joint and muscle pain and stiffness after waking and sitting/laying for several minutes.  It makes it hard to walk after rising.  My Crohn's disease is currently in remission, so I don't think the arthritis is directly related to IBD at this time.  I recently had some blood work done for a totally different condition and had a positive rheumatoid factor of 71, ESR slightly elevated at 31, and C-reactive protein mildly elevated at 0.6.  Also, two of my liver enzymes were elevated-ALT 38, and ALP 134. Do any of you know if this is characteristic of rheumatoid arthritis or any other conditions?
Thanks for your help!
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams. . .
Diagnosed at age 26 with small bowel Crohn's disease; also have enteropathic arthritis, fibromyalgia/myofascial pain syndrome, gallstones and gallbladder removal, kidney stones,erythema nodosum, eye inflammation, hiatal hernia, GERD, lactose intolerant, migraines, Vitamin B-12 deficiency
Waiting on probable Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis from Johns Hopkins-abnormal MRI containing 9 lesions, experiencing headaches, blurred vision-possible Optic Neuritis, dizziness, numbness/tingling, vibration sensation while resting, muscle weakness, Vitamin D deficiency
Medications: Pentasa, Nexium, Salsalate, Lactose pill, Tramadol

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 4/6/2009 8:40 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Van, I can't believe no ones answered you, so thought I'd give it a shot...I know nothing about blood work but if you have symmetrical joint pain/swelling like both knees, both hips etc. and it lasts for several months, it is likely to be some form of RA. I'd say if you have a positive RF you should get a referral to a rheumy and get yourself checked out. Lots of virus' can cause joint pain so lets hope its just a virus. Hope you feel better soon.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 4/17/2009 11:26 AM (GMT -6)   
HI! Usually a positive RF (rheumatoid factor) means you could possibly have RA, but it doesn't always mean that. Elevated CRP means inflammation in the body. Elevated liver enzymes is usually due to medications, or to some type of disease. Autoimmune diseases are hard to diagnose. They tend to be very similiar in a lot of ways and there are a lot of different diseases.
One good thing is a biologic called Remicade, it can be used to treat both Chrons and RA.
With RA, everyone seems to experience things differently. Especially in the begining. Usually a Rheumatologist can pinpoint the disease. I personally have extreme fatigue, but I also have Fibromyalgia along with the RA. I have pain and swelling in hands, wrists, fingers, ankles, toes, feet, knees. Along with stiffness in neck and shoulders. Dry eye. Pain in muscles and tendons--from FM.
I take several different medications, we are still trying to find the right combination for me, I am on my 3rd biologic-others have failed. Plus many daily medications.
Hope everything works out for you. Sometimes it can seem so frustrating. Hang in there it will work out.

at wit's end
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2007
Total Posts : 553
   Posted 4/28/2009 8:56 AM (GMT -6)   

Hi Vandygrad97, I've over the past several months had problems with muscle cramping in my calves, and recently achiness and tenderness in my joints in my elbows and knees along with bad fatigue. I have UC which is a autoimmune disease that can cause this. Over the past 3 weeks I've had slightly elevated liver enzymes, ALT and AST, I had that retested last week at my gastro doctor, along with 8 other liver tests including a total comprehensive metabolic panel, both liver enzymes were normal this time, however, I had a positive result on the Fluorescent antinuclear antibody test, which can be caused by the UC I have along with the medicine I am on. My doctor said it is not significant and is going to retest me in three months on the FANA test and compare the two.

I read that a number of autoimmune diseases can cause that positive result along with RA, Lupus, Thyroiditis, Graves Disease, certain cancers like breast, lung, ovarian, etc. But diseases like UC and Crohns and viral and bacterial infections can cause it also. I've had a UTI for a month now and after two rounds of antibiotics I still have not totally gotten rid of it. So I wonder if that could be responsible. This really has me rattled.

Diagnosed with left sided UC in sigmoid colon and rectum 1986.
Put on Azulfidine 2 X 3 a day and Rowasa enemas 60mg.
Have been pretty much in remission overall other than a few flares over the past 21 years.
Medicine changed to Asacol 400mg 2 pills X3 times a day. Taken off all meds in 2004.
Diagnosed with acid reflux 2005. Put on Protonix 40mg.
Have been using Canasa 1000mg suppositories nightly since January 2007.
Was put back on Asacol 400mg 2 pills 2X a day in July 2007 maintenance. 

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13363
   Posted 5/15/2009 11:17 AM (GMT -6)   
Vandy I see you are B12 deficient, any reason your GI does not have you on B12 shots.? Low B12 leads to anemia per my gi. I would talk to either my PCP or Gi about getting B12 shots. Made a big difference for me. Same goes with your vitamin D, cannot understand why your drs are ignoring these things...Susie

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/26/2010 12:55 PM (GMT -6)   
vandygrad 97....hoping to find out about your possible MS diagnosis. You wrote:

Waiting on probable Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis from Johns Hopkins-abnormal MRI containing 9 lesions, experiencing headaches, blurred vision-possible Optic Neuritis, dizziness, numbness/tingling, vibration sensation while resting, muscle weakness, Vitamin D deficiency

I too have headaches, numbness/tingling in my face, a vibration sensation in my right leg and upper body....
Hope you are doing okay.

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2010
Total Posts : 59
   Posted 1/21/2011 2:06 PM (GMT -6)   
You should all look into lyme disease. I have severe eye sensitivity, eye pain, eye dryness, an elevated Rheumatoid factor (70), fibromyalgia and reactive hypoglycemia. I have inflammation all through out my body. It is located in my eyes, muscles, thyroid and possibly my colon. I was told I would eventually develop rheumatiod arthritis but haven't yet. I still don't have problems with any joints after having been diagnosed 1 1/2 years ago. I am currently seeing a lyme specialist that believes my RA has been caused by lyme disease. He has had me on doxycycline (antibiotics) for 4 months now. It has helped in many ways, especially with pain. The reason I am going in this direction is because my husband was diagnosed with lyme disease and we have the same symptoms. Having RA on top of lyme disease is absolutely horrible. I have to many other symptoms that are not explained with a RA diagnosis alone. This is something you all may want to consider looking into if you symptoms are more than what RA would give you. You should also consider lyme disease if you are diagnosed with MS.
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