Rheumatoid Factor?

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by Guest Posts on Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:33 am

Rheumatoid Factor?

On behalf of our guest visitor Coleen:
My husband has been told he has the ‘rheumatoid factor’. Does this mean he is definitely going to develop arthritis or can we do something to prevent it?
talkhealth team on behalf of a guest visitor

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Arthritis Care
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by Arthritis Care on Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:41 pm

Re: Rheumatoid Factor?

Hi Coleen,

Thanks for your post. Blood test results for inflammatory arthritis can be a bit confusing. Generally one test by itself may not enough. If a GP is trying to see what's happening they may look at a range of different tests if they suspect an inflammatory arthritis. You may need a chat with the doctor to work out what they think is happening. If you would like some support you are most welcome to ring our Helpline - that can be a way of preparing some questions to put to the doctor. Another option might be to get a physiotherapist's opinion.

I hope you can find some helpful answers soon.

Kind regards

Arthritis Care Helpline
Tel 0808 800 4050 10 am - 4 pm weekdays

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Dr Sandeep Bawa
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by Dr Sandeep Bawa on Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:23 pm

Re: Rheumatoid Factor?


The Rheumatoid Factor test will only be relevant in the context of appropriate symptoms.

If a patient has swelling and stiffness of joints, the RF test can be relevant. RF can be positive in 5 per cent of the population - and they don't have Rheumatoid.

So just because you have a positive test it doesn't automatically mean you have the condition. Your symptoms need to be taken into consideration.

Hope this helps

Dr Sandeep Bawa
Consultant Rheumatologist - MBChB, MRCP, MSc (Sports Exercise Medicine)
http://www.talkhealthpartnership.com/on ... p_bawa.php

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Arthritis Action
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by Arthritis Action on Thu Oct 06, 2016 6:47 pm

Re: Rheumatoid Factor?

Hello Colleen,

Rheumatoid arthritis can't be diagnosed with just a blood test and having this result does not mean that he has or will definitely go on to develop the condition at all. There are many other reasons for having the rheumatoid factor in the blood, including being completely normal.


Dr Wendy Holden
Medical Advisor to Arthritis Action and Consultant Rheumatologist

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