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Rheumatoid Factor Rf

Also known as: RF
The test assists in diagnosing autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Your healthcare professional will order the test if they speculate that your joint pain and fatigue may be caused due to RA.
This is a blood test. The technician draws a blood sample from a vein in the arm.
There is no preparation needed for the test.
The antibody Rheumatoid factor (RF) is an immunoglobulin M (IgM) protein that is manufactured by the immune system. There is not a clear and full understanding of RF currently, but its presence in the blood suggests inflammatory and autoimmune activity. RF tests are used with other tests to corroborate evidence for and diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a systemic autoimmune disease that leads to inflammation, pain, stiffness, and damaging changes in the hands, feet, and joints of the different body parts. Other symptoms include weight loss, fatigue, and low-grade fevers. RA is more likely to affect women compared to men, with 70% of RA patients being women. It can be diagnosed at any age, but it is commonly detected in men between the ages of 60 to 80 years, and in the late child-bearing years for women.
There is no set course or prognosis for RA. It can go into remission, go away, or develop quickly or steadily. However, it is important to treat RA as it can reduce the life span of patients and impact their ability to work in everyday life activities. Several treatment options are viable to reduce the complications presented in RA. Proper and early diagnosis is important to ensure the right treatment plan is chosen. An early diagnosis prevents serious joint damage that can hinder treatment success. RF helps identify RA but it is not preferred because of its sensitivity and specificity. Other tests are used to corroborate the diagnosis. 80% of RA patients have positive RF results, however, there are also cases where it is negative in patients with clinical presentation of RA. Hence the test is not used alone to verify. 5-10% increase in RF levels can also be detected in a healthy population. Senior citizens and patients who have other conditions besides RA can also have a higher than a normal percentage.
The rheumatoid factor (RF) test is utilized with other laboratory tests and imaging tests (X rays, ultrasound, MRI scan ) to detect rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and differentiate it from other forms of arthritis or conditions. In some cases, especially at the early stages of RA, signs, and symptoms are not present or they do not follow a typical pattern. The symptoms may not be distinct as some people present symptoms of other disorders like connective tissue disorders or conditions, such as Raynaud phenomenon, scleroderma, autoimmune thyroid disorders, and systemic lupus erythematosus, Thus the RF test is used alongside other tests if RA is suspected, and the clinical picture alone is not relied on.
The test for RF is requested when an individual exhibits the following symptoms of RA.
  • Pain, warmth, swelling, and morning stiffness in the joints
  • Nodules under the skin
  • If the disease has progressed, evidence on X-rays of swollen joint capsules and loss of cartilage and bone
RF test can be retaken if the results for the first test are negative but symptoms persist.
RF test is used and comprehended alongside other laboratory tests, clinical history, and symptom presentation. Although RF is present in 70%to 90% of patients with RA, its presence does not verify RA. RF levels are higher in severe diseases with poor prognoses. In symptom presentation of rheumatoid arthritis, highly elevated levels of RF are likely to mean the patient has RA. However, a negative blood test result for RF does not rule out the possibility of RA. In 20% of cases, modest or minute levels of RF are found. CCP antibody test is used to verify RA diagnosis.
Related Tests: Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide Antibody, Antinuclear Antibody (ANA), Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR), C-Reactive Protein (CRP), Autoantibodies, Complete Blood Count (CBC Blood test), Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibodies (ANCA, MPO, PR3)
Distance: 25 KM
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