Rheumatoid factor and rheumatoid arthritis

Physician developed patient information about rheumatoid factors. Rheumatoid factors are proteins found in the blood. A high blood level of these antibodies sometimes occurs in family members of patients with RA who do not have symptoms of rheumatoid factor and rheumatoid arthritis arthritis themselves.

RA because they do not provide a definitive diagnosis. In patients with joint pain, inflammation, and other symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, high levels of rheumatoid factor often indicate severe, progressive disease. Risks associated with blood tests are rare and include difficulty obtaining a blood sample, excessive bleeding, lightheadedness, fainting, and infection. Copyright 2017 Remedy Health Media, LLC. The content on this website is provided for educational purposes only. Use of this site is subject to the policies and terms of use.

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. The rheumatoid factor test looks for the presence of a particular antibody that can potentially cause inflammatory symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Doctors measure the level of rheumatoid factor by performing a blood test. A positive rheumatoid factor test means that the patient’s level of rheumatoid factor in their blood  is considered high. Rheumatoid factor was first described in connection to rheumatoid arthritis in 1940. Today, a positive rheumatoid factor test is mostly used as a supportive tool in helping doctors reach a diagnosis.

Yet, it must be combined with other tools and criteria. All immune systems contain healthy antibodies that fight off infections caused by bacteria and viruses. Sometimes, however, bad antibodies are produced by the immune system which can attack healthy antibodies. In other words, the antibodies turn against the person’s system damaging their health. When antibodies begin to attack the person, it can result in triggering an immune response. This immune response can turn into an autoimmune disorder which in turn can produce a variety of different symptoms, ultimately damaging that person’s health. Rheumatoid factor is a bad protein antibody produced by a person’s immune system.

If triggered, rheumatoid factor antibodies attack the healthy tissue in the patient’s body. Rheumatoid factor attacks result in a variety of inflammatory symptoms. Typically, these symptoms cause inflammation in the synovium of the patient’s joints, which leads to rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid factor can also cause other symptoms seen in autoimmune disorders like Sjogren’s Syndrome or Hepatitis C. The reason rheumatoid factor is commonly associated with rheumatoid arthritis specifically is because when the antibody was discovered it was used to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis.