Information On Rheumatoid Arthritis Blood Test

Submitted on March 27, 2012

A blood test for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is carried out to diagnose the disease, determine the severity of it, and find complications, if any. Rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder that affects many organs and tissues but mainly attacks the joints. It often leads to the articular cartilage being destroyed and joint ankylosis. Causes are not known but autoimmunity plays an important role in its progression.

Types of Tests To Diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Factor

This is commonly used as a blood test to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. This factor is present in over 80% of adults who suffer from the disease. It is an antibody that can be measured in the blood. In fact, it is an antibody that binds itself to other antibodies. Rheumatoid factor is an antibody that is not generally found in a normal person. The factor can also be present in people with other diseases such as syphilis, infectious hepatitis, tuberculosis, liver disease and systemic lupus erythematosus. It is also found in people without disease; however this is more likely when these individuals have a family history of rheumatoid arthritis. A person with severe rheumatoid arthritis will have high levels of rheumatoid factor.

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate Test

The ESR or sed rate test measures the rate at which erythrocytes (red blood cells) fall to the bottom of a glass filled with a patient's blood. The greater the inflammation, the higher the rate will be. However, this rate could be high in infections as well as tumors. The main purpose is to see how active the disease is. C-Reactive Protein (CRP): High levels of CRP are also indicative of inflammation. CRP levels could also rise when a person is obese, and the doctor should take the person's BMI into consideration if using this test to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis.

Anti-CCP Antibody Test

The presence of antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides (CCP) help determine RA long before the symptoms develop. When combined with the rheumatoid factor test, this test is the best to check which patients will develop severe RA.The above rheumatoid arthritis blood test results will help in diagnosing the disease as well as determining the extent of it.

Other Tests

Other rheumatoid arthritis tests include x-rays, energy x-ray absorptiometry (dexa scans), power Doppler ultrasonography (PDUS), quantitative ultrasound (QUS), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). A physician will tell you which lab tests to carry out for rheumatoid arthritis. Thus the above details provide you with information on how to test for rheumatoid arthritis.