Blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis ?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 155
   Posted 9/12/2007 9:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Everyone,
Hope everyone is well. Quick question?  All of my labs point to RA.  Sedimentation Rate (ESR), Complement C4, C-Reactive Protein as well as others and Xrays of my hands are indicating this as well RF remains negative.  Has anyone else experienced this?  I guess I'm just worried about being missed diagnosed and maybe have some other disease or illness.  If any could help, that would be great.

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 499
   Posted 9/12/2007 10:01 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Raven,
If you look up in the subjects, Ducky has one posted called "Arthritis Resources" There are some great posts there from Erin that really explain things about the blood tests, etc. Erin has so much knowledge about all of this, think you will find those posts very helpful. There are several people here that have tested negative for RF, but still have RA. Erin explains all that.
Take care,

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3199
   Posted 9/13/2007 5:36 AM (GMT -6)   

Hey Raven.. here is the post Jody was talking about..

RF #'s vary greatly from patient to patient.  it's not a real deciding factor for disease and shouldn't be used to diagnose all by itself.
also...a RF won't "tell you" how bad say for example a person's RA is.
a positive RF can be present in a SLEW of illnesses....even "normal" people can have an RF level (the ellderly usually do).
a pt. can also have an RF level after a broken bone as well.
your RF number is just an antibody that floats around in the blood of many people who do in fact have Rheumatory Arthritis.
*RF is not exclusive to just Rheumatoid Arthritis...a Rheumatoid Factor (RF) can show up in folks with: SLE, lupus; TB; scleroderma; endocarditis; Sjogrens syndrome; sarcoidsis; cancer; Syphylis & viral infections like Epstein-Barr.
in all, docs use the RF test in bloodwork because the values of RF is often quite higher in people who do have RA.
it's just useful in trying to get a diagnoses.  RF supports a tentative diagnoses of RA...but used alone, is not enough to make a diagnoses of RA.
*nomal values are usually 0-20 U/mL give or take a few depending on the lab (all labs have a tendency to vary a point or 2)
*an absent RF does not exclude Rheumatory Arthritis.
so they'll use this test, plus your statements of symptoms, pain levels in joints, swelling, symmetrical joint pain & swelling & stiffness, RA nodules if present, and XRAY changes of the joint or decalcifications/deformities, & family history.

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 1782
   Posted 9/13/2007 3:23 PM (GMT -6)   
I have RA and am seronegative for RF in my blood - always have been. I figure the xrays speak louder than my blood tests!
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 3148
   Posted 9/14/2007 12:35 PM (GMT -6)   
how the heck do you do that!?!?!? LOL.
all these years & i've yet to cut & paste <<<<<<sigh>>>>>>>
thak you jody for the nice reference! i think i would have made an awesome rheumatologist!
Arthritis Forum Moderator & Co-Pilot
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Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 4305
   Posted 9/14/2007 6:24 PM (GMT -6)   
I have Rheumatory Arthritis and every time that they did blood work my RF all way's comes back negative.I had asked my Rheumy how I could have RA if my blood work keep's comeing back normal.She then explained to me that she does not rely on the blood work as much as she does with the 16 point system and I was told that I have 15 out 16.

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