Rheumatoid Arthritis: RA Factor: What Does it Really Mean

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What is an RA factor? Well to start, RA factor is a protein. This protein is made by the immune system to attack certain bacteria and viruses. The blood test to measure the RA factor  is used to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases, viruses and infections.   What I was told by my rheumatologist and believed,  was that my elevated RA factor along with my swollen joints indicated rheumatoid arthritis. Those two factors alone do NOT necessarily mean you have RA. In my case it did not.

An elevated RA factor can indicate increased autoimmune activity in the body that does not necessarily relate to rheumatoid arthritis. It is extremely important that all  the symptoms be considered before a diagnosis is made and no one test can indicate disease. High levels of RA factor can be found with patients suffering from viruses like Epstein-Barr and diseases like Hepatitis.

Other tests that should be done at the same time include:

  • ANA                          (Anti Nuclear Antibody)
  • Anti-CCP                 (Anti-cyclic citrullinated Peptide)
  • CRP                            (C-reactive Protein)
  • CBC                            (Complete Blood Count)
  • ESR                            (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate or Sed Rate)

I will discuss these tests in future posts.

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3 thoughts on “Rheumatoid Arthritis: RA Factor: What Does it Really Mean

  1. Roland

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  2. Lyla cavanaugh

    What antibiotic did you take that made you better? I have Lyme since hiking in 1971 when no one knew what it was. They thought I had Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. I had the Bull’s eye rash on my neck and a tick bite that would not heal, or was very slow healing. But it was not until six months later that one morning I awoke in terrible pain with all my joints out of place. I was scared to death and a friend referred me to a chiropractor who was very skilled and I went three times a week for over two years to get my joints back in place. Since then I have developed lifelong joint pain and am dealing with it with meds, aspirin, muscle relaxers etc. But if you’ve found an antibiotic that helps, what is it?

  3. Jo-Ann Colburn Post author

    Hi Lyla,
    I have been on many different protocols since I was diagnosed with Lyme. There is no simple answer to your question. Joint pain, swelling and stiffness is very common in Lyme disease. I was strongly suggest that you consult with a LLMD. They are skilled in treating Lyme disease and can find a protocol that works for you. I would also encourage you to watch “Under Our Skin” it’s a documentary about Lyme disease and very enlightening. If you need help finding a LLMD, email me and I will do what I can to help. Good luck.

    Jo-Ann

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