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Blood test may help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis before symptoms appear

Category: Blood and Blood Diseases

Results of a new study have suggested that a simple blood test may be able to predict rheumatoid arthritis and can act as an early warning sign of the disease long before symptoms appear.

Researchers from the American College of Rheumatology analyzed blood samples taken from 86 people before the onset of RA and compared the results to samples taken after symptoms had appeared. They also examined a group of 256 participants who did not have the disease.

The study found that levels of inflammatory proteins called cytokines increased significantly in patients prior to the development of rheumatoid arthritis.

"Our findings present an opportunity for better predicting the risk of developing RA and possibly preventing disease progression," said researcher Solbritt Rantapää-Dahlqvist of the University Hospital in Umea, Sweden, quoted by WebMD.

The researchers believe that a blood test can screen for these elevated protein levels and may help diagnose RA before symptoms emerge. They added that people who receive an early diagnosis are more likely to lead an active life and are less likely to suffer joint damage.

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