RHEUMATOID FACTOR TEST
What are the other names for this test?
RF Blood Test
What is a Rheumatoid Factor test?
A rheumatoid factor test observes for rheumatoid factor (RF) in your blood. Rheumatoid is a protein produced by your immune system. The immune system consists of a group of organs, cells, and proteins that helps to protect against infection or bacteria entering your body. Your immune system develops proteins called antibodies to fight bacteria. Rheumatoid factors are antibodies that may attack your healthy cells and tissues mistakenly. If you have symptoms of higher rheumatoid factors, it may lead to autoimmune disease or any other problem that may link to high RF levels. A rheumatoid factor test helps to determine autoimmune disorders and diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that causes swelling, pain, stiffness, and joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a long-term condition that may also affect your lungs.
What is the purpose of this test?
A rheumatoid factor is often conducted with other tests, such as laboratory and medical imaging to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren's syndrome. This test may help your provider to check the severity of RA. High RF levels may lead to extreme rheumatoid arthritis. RF may also affect other body organs, such as the eyes, heart, and lungs.
When do I need to take this test?
Your healthcare provider may recommend a rheumatoid factor test if you have symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis
- Tiredness or fatigue
- Loss of weight
- Loss of hunger
- Swelling or pain in the joint
- Solid lumps under the skin
- Numbness or tingling in your hands
- Low-level fever
- Early morning joint stiffness that remains longer than 30 minutes
- Dryness of eyes and mouth
Low risk for RA may link with women who breastfeed their children. The factors that may lead to a high risk of RA include:
- Being overweight
- Gender (Females may experience RA at least 2-3 times more compared to males)
- Children of those mothers who smoke
- Women who do not have any children or give birth
This test does not help to screen for RA if you do not experience signs. RA will not develop when your RF tests
show positive results and without having symptoms. Your healthcare provider may also suggest the RF test to monitor and detect other health conditions that may include:
What is the procedure for this test?
- Scleroderma - An autoimmune rheumatic disease that leads to inflammation in the skin and other body parts.
- Sjogren’s syndrome - An autoimmune system disorder identified by two symptoms, including dryness in the mouth and eyes.
- Lupus - an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy tissues.
- Juvenile arthritis - A type of arthritis found in children and teens.
- Hepatitis C ( liver disease)
- Specific forms of cancers, such as leukemia
- Sarcoidosis - an immune condition in which your immune system develops lumps, which happens due to the growth of abnormal cells.
- Specific infections, such as mononucleosis or tuberculosis, affect your lungs.
- Endocarditis - a condition in which bacteria or germs come into your blood vessels that flow to your heart.
Following are the steps of a rheumatoid factor test that include:
- Your provider will ask you to stay relaxed and calm before the test.
- Take a seat in front of your provider and remove your cloth from one of the arms.
- A small needle will inject into the vein in your arm.
- Your blood sample will collect in a test tube
- A little discomfort or pain may happen during the test or at the time of injection of the needle.
- Regular activities may resume after the test.
- This test will finish within five minutes.
Before visiting the laboratory, you can book an online rheumatoid factor test
How do I need to prepare for this test?
A rheumatoid factor test does not need any specific preparation. You may eat or drink if you have only this test. But when your provider asks for other blood tests, you may need to fast for at least several hours. You can inform your provider about medicines, supplements, or vitamins you use. Do not avoid your medication without the prescription of your doctor.
Are there any risks involved in this test?
A rheumatoid factor test contains low risks when you give a blood sample to your provider. Vein differs from person to person. Some people or children may have difficulty providing a blood sample compared to others. You may experience low risks when the needle injects into your vein, include
What do the test results indicate?
- Extreme Bleeding
- Slight pain
- Hematoma (Deposition of blood under the skin)
The recommended range for rheumatoid factor test is below 20 international units per milliliter (U/mL) and is considered a negative result. It may indicate no or little RF in your blood. The negative result does not reduce the chance of rheumatoid arthritis or other health problems. Most people contain low or no RF with rheumatoid arthritis. Your healthcare provider may ask for additional tests if you feel symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis having negative rheumatoid factor test results.
Higher levels than recommended may indicate you experience RA or any other autoimmune disease. RF levels do not always lead to symptoms of RA. Often higher RF levels may increase your risk of developing RA.
The reference range for old adults may be higher than 20 U/mL. The test r
esults depend on many factors, such as age, gender, and medical history. The test results may also slightly differ among laboratories. It is because each lab may use different methods for examination. Take an instant e-visit
to consult with a provider about your test results.
Most RA affects your joints of fingers, toes, knees, and shoulders. If RA is left untreated, it may lead to problems in your life, such as difficulty walking or in movements of hands and deformation of the joint structure. Long-term effects of RA may damage your cartilage and bones and reduce joint function.
What factors may affect the test results?
Some specific infections may increase your RF levels.
What additional tests do I need along with this test?
You may need also need to order other tests to find RA, including
- Complete blood count (CBC) test
- Cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP) antibody test
- Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test
Your doctor may also ask for X-rays of your hands, feet, or wrists to see any joint damage.