Rheumatoid Arthritis Testing
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What is a Rheumatoid Arthritis Test?
A Rheumatoid Arthritis test is often prescribed by physicians to assist in diagnosing a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. The test measures the amount of rheumatoid factor, an antibody in the blood, present in most patients who are exhibiting symptoms of the condition. Overwhelmingly, patients who exhibit these symptoms will eventually show positive for rheumatoid factor 70-80% of the time, though these numbers are typically lesser during the onset of early arthritis. Also, other autoimmune diseases aside from rheumatoid arthritis may show elevated levels of rheumatoid factor in patients.
Who May Need a Rheumatoid Arthritis Test?
Rheumatoid Arthritis tests are designed to help physicians diagnose the condition known as rheumatoid arthritis in patients. At times, it may be difficult to diagnose the condition because early signs often mimic symptoms of other diseases. Physicians will often perform a physical exam first, looking for swelling, redness and warmth in a patient's joints, as well as checking a patient's reflexes and muscle strength. If your doctor suspects you may have rheumatoid arthritis, this test may be prescribed in order to determine whether or not you have the condition, or if you are already undergoing treatment for RA, as a way to track the progress of treatments.
What Should I Expect from My Rheumatoid Arthritis Test?
Rheumatoid Arthritis tests begin by having a blood specimen drawn from a patient. Afterward, the blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The test does not require any preparation by the patient prior to having the specimen taken. Along with indicating whether or not the condition exists in a patient, or if treatments are working, rheumatoid arthritis tests can often indicate the severity of the disease, with high levels commonly pointing toward a more aggressive condition. While normal ranges for rheumatoid arthritis test results do exist, your physician may want to base your results on factors such as your health, age, or other conditions. Speak with your doctor regarding your results to understand how they concern you and your health specifically.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune, chronic inflammatory disease that affects the joints, including those in the hands and feet. Rheumatoid Arthritis causes joint inflammation and swelling, resulting in pain and loss of joint function. Over time, it can cause bone erosion and joint deformity. It can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body, such as:
- Blood vessels
How to test for Rheumatoid Arthritis?
There are several ways to test for Rheumatoid Arthritis, including blood tests and imaging tests. One blood test that can help diagnose Rheumatoid Arthritis is the Rheumatoid Factor (RA), which is found in most collagen vascular diseases. Your doctor will further guide you through the diagnosis process and treatment options.
What are the most common symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Common symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis are:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Swelling and warmth around the joints
- Morning stiffness
- Loss of appetite
How is Rheumatoid Arthritis treated?
Rheumatoid Arthritis treatment can vary depending on:
- Severity of your symptoms
- Overall health
- Presence of other medical conditions
- Whether the condition was recently diagnosed or long-standing
Treatment options may include:
- Medications (immunosuppressants, painkillers, corticosteroids, and other anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Physical therapy
Your doctor will determine the best treatment for you and how to take care of your condition.
Do I need to visit a doctor?
Nope. You don't need a doctor's visit to get a test with us.
How do I get my results?
You'll get your results via email as soon as they are available. We will notify you via SMS as well. You can also see them at any time in the future right in your dashboard where you can easily share them with your professional and compare them side by side with future tests.
Does my lab prescription expire?
We're the only lab that honors your lab order forever.