Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative
Understanding Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative
What is Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative?
A Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative test is used to measure the amount of rheumatoid factor (RF) in your blood. This test is performed to detect or monitor rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other autoimmune diseases (diseases in which the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues), such as Sjögren's syndrome.
Rheumatoid factor (RF) is an autoantibody (specific protein produced by the immune system) that is formed if you have RA. High level of RF in your blood indicates that you may have an autoimmune disease, such as RA or Sjögren's syndrome. However, not everyone who has RF autoantibodies has RA, because RF can also be found in healthy individuals in a small percentage, particularly in those who are aging.
Your doctor may suggest a Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative test if you show signs and symptoms of RA, such as pain, warmth, swelling, and morning stiffness in the joints; nodules under the skin; etc. If the disease has progressed, evidence of swollen joints and loss of cartilage and bone is observed on X-ray radiographs. This test may also be done if you have symptoms suggesting Sjogren’s syndrome, such as extremely dry mouth and eyes along with joint and muscle pain. Sjogren’s syndrome can occur by itself or following RA or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Patients with RA and/or Sjogren’s syndrome may also have other autoimmune diseases such as thyroid disorders. Usually, no special preparation is required for an RF test; eat and drink as per your daily routine.
Test result ranges are approximate and may differ slightly between different labs depending on the methodology and laboratory guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your specific results. Narrate your complete medical history to help the doctor correlate your clinical and laboratory findings. The test results will help them determine your medical condition, make recommendations for lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise, decide whether or not medication will be required to manage your condition, and formulate your overall treatment plan.
What is Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative used for?
A Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative test is done:
If there are signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, such as pain, warmth, swelling, and morning stiffness in the joints; nodules under the skin; etc.
To diagnose autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or Sjogren’s syndrome.
To determine the severity of RA. Higher levels of RF suggests a more aggressive form of disease that may require specific therapy.
What does Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative measure?
A Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative test detects and measures rheumatoid factor (RF), a specific type of autoantibody (protein produced by the immune system in response to a foreign substance), in your blood. We all have antibodies which are also known as immunoglobulins in the blood. These antibodies are protective proteins that help to fight infection. However, autoantibodies may attack your own tissues mistakenly identifying them as “foreign substances”.
An RF test is sensitive but not very specific as rheumatoid factor can also be found in the body in diseases other than RA and Sjögren’s syndrome. This autoantibody is also produced in the body during some persistent bacterial and viral infections.
Interpreting Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative results
High levels of Rheumatoid factor test indicates the high level of rheumatoid factor in the blood which is associated with Rheumatoid arthritis.
There are other conditions where RF test is positive that include:
Systemic Lupus erythematosus
Inflammatory lung diseases
Mixed connective tissue diseases
Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative
Frequently Asked Questions about Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative
Q. What is rheumatoid arthritis (RA)?
Q. What are the risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis?
Q. When does the doctor advise a Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative test?
Q. How is a Rheumatoid Arthritis Factor test performed?
Q. Is there any risk associated with a Rheumatoid Factor - Quantitative test?
Q. If my Rheumatoid Factor test shows a positive result, does it mean I have rheumatoid arthritis?
Q. Does a high level of RF mean that my arthritis is bad?
Q. What other tests may be advised after an RF test?
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- Rheumatoid Factor (Blood) [Internet]. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Medical Center; [Accessed 18 Mar. 2023]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=rheumatoid_factor
- Rheumatoid Arthritis [Internet]. Atlanta, Georgia: Arthritis Foundation; 15 Oct. 2021 [Accessed 18 Mar. 2023]. Available from: https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/rheumatoid-arthritis
- Rheumatoid Factor - an overview [Internet]. ScienceDirect; [Accessed 18 Mar. 2023]. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/rheumatoid-factor
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) [Internet]. CDC; 27 Jul. 2020 [Accessed 18 Mar. 2023]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/rheumatoid-arthritis.html