Rheumatoid factor and sed rate tests question

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by KIMHURTS, May 13, 2006.


    KIMHURTS New Member

    I was just wondering if anyone can help me understand this.I got diagnosed with fm 4 months ago.Prior to that when my symptoms first started, my primary did multiple tests.My sed rate came back very high and my rheumatoid factor test came back positive.My primary diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis but wanted a rheumy to verify.When i went to rheumy he diagnosed me with fm.Does this make sense?Anyone else have this happen?
  2. libra55

    libra55 New Member

    Maybe you could get a 3rd opinion. You can have FM and other autoimmune diseases going on all at the same time. I also have Crohn's. Which I had at the same time I was dx with FM (by a rheumy) even though my sed was sky high he told me I had FM which I did BUT I also had the Crohn's. He should have looked further. So i suffered for 6 yrs before I got a good diagnosis.

    Sed rate is a marker of inflammation in the body so it is possible you have RA and fibro concurrently, or something else.


    KIMHURTS New Member

    that is what i thought.Thank you for the info
  4. TXFMmom

    TXFMmom New Member

    Sed rates can be elevated from all kinds of things.

    My mother had been told over and over and over that she did not have rheumatoid, then she developed a cyst on her arm, and it came back rheumatoid and her doctor keeps saying she doesn't have it.

    A friend of hers, who is an oncologist told her one cannot have a rheumatoid cyst and not have rheumatoid, she just has a mild case, so far.
  5. tandy

    tandy New Member

    BTW: tandyhurts too :)
    (cute username)

    Your situation is very simular to mine.
    and it is confusing~
    I too have been DX with Fibro for a long time.
    My sed is almost always high,....
    but my RA factor did'nt show anything.
    I'm kinda in the 'lets wait and see' stage.

    I do get some swelling when I wake up and my knuckles are sore/swelled. I've even gotten small red sores/lumps on my knuckles. But still no DX of RA.
    My Rhuemy said I may have the beginnings of RA.??
    Hope this helps somewhat~
  6. roseylisa

    roseylisa New Member

    I to have had a positive rhumatoind test it was only 18 Ive also had it turn out negative??? Sed rates usually run high on me. I even had a ana test come back positive once! Which shows you might have lupus. After I was told you could have ... then later four drs later was told FM and osteoarthtis herniated disc depression possible manic depression. Makes me wonder if they missed something somewhere along the line!!!
  7. lenasvn

    lenasvn New Member

    I also have Rf factor. I have been told (I think it was a British expert) that FM can present with rf factor. Sed rate is as earlier mentioned a sign of inflammation.

    I was incorrectly diagnosed with RA, but realised it as I researched about it. I have gotten a new doc, and a referral to a rheumy who hopefully can diagnose properly.

    It is most likely FM (in my case). Lupus can also present with RF. A doctor should not quickly assume that is what you have, mine did after seeing me only twice.

    I read up that it takes expertise and a throughout investigation before making the final diagnosis.

    [This Message was Edited on 05/14/2006]
  8. Musica

    Musica New Member

    Sed rate is a sign of inflammation in general. I believe the CRP (C-Reactive Protein) is the preferred inflammatory marker, although patient history and inflamed joints and equally or more important.

    There is sero-negative RA (rheumatoid factor does not show up in the blood, but RA exists). Rheumatoid Factor can indicate other autoimmune diseases, but is most indicative of RA. The classic sign is symptoms affecting both sides of the body - left AND right fingers, left AND right knees, etc.

    It is EXTREMELY common for RA and FM to exist at the same time, or two or more autoimmune diseases. If RA is a possibility, it is important to get another rheumy opinion ASAP since RA will most likely cause joint damage if left untreated (especially in the first 2 years).

    Here is the classification criteria as established by the American College of Rheumatology:

    1987 Criteria for the Classification of Acute Arthritis of Rheumatoid Arthritis
    Criterion Definition

    1. Morning stiffness

    Morning stiffness in and around the joints, lasting at least 1 hour before maximal improvement

    2. Arthritis of 3 or more joint areas

    At least 3 joint areas simultaneously have had soft tissue swelling or fluid (not bony overgrowth alone) observed by a physician. The 14 possible areas are right or left PIP, MCP, wrist, elbow, knee, ankle, and MTP joints

    3. Arthritis of hand joints

    At least 1 area swollen (as defined above) in a wrist, MCP, or PIP joint

    4. Symmetric arthritis

    Simultaneous involvement of the same joint areas (as defined in 2) on both sides fo the body (bilateral involvement of PIPs, MCPs, or MTPs is acceptable without absolute symmetry)

    5. Rheumatoid nodules

    Subcutaneous nodules, over bony prominences, or extensor surfaces, or in juxtaarticular regions, observed by a physician

    6. Serum rheumatoid factor

    Demonstration of abnormal amounts of serum rheumatoid factor by any method for which the result has been positive in <5% of normal control subjects

    7. Radiographic changes

    Radiographic changes typical of rheumatoid arthritis on posteroanterior hand and wrist radiographs, which must include erosions or unequivocal bony decalcification localized in or most marked adjacent to the involved joints (osteoarthritis changes alone do not qualify)


    * For classification purposes, a patient shall be said to have rheumatoid arthritis if he/she has satisfied at least 4 or these 7 criteria. Criteria 1 through 4 must have been present for at least 6 weeks. Patients with 2 clinical diagnoses are not excluded. Designation as classic, definite, or probable rheumatoid arthritis is not to be made.

  9. Musica

    Musica New Member

    Rheumatoid factor (RF, Latex)

    This measures whether a certain amount of abnormal antibody called rheumatoid factor is in the blood. The majority of people with rheumatoid arthritis (a common disease of inflamed joints that can cause joint alignment problems and loss of function) have a large amount of rheumatoid factor in their blood. However, up to 20 percent of adults with rheumatoid arthritis may never have any rheumatoid factor in their blood. In contrast, about 85 percent of children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (ERA) are negative for rheumatoid factor (ERA is a group of diseases, similar to rheumatoid arthritis, that begin in childhood). It is important to note that having a positive rheumatoid factor will assist in the diagnosis, but the test alone is not conclusive.


    Latex agglutination testing is still widely used although it is being supplanted by other methods including ELISA and nephelometry that are capable of being done by machine rather than by hand to hopefully improve standardization and reproducibility. Nephelometry uses laser light scatter to measure the formation of immune complexes in this case, rheumatoid factor and human IgG.

    Normal range

    The latex test is reported in a titer with most labs considering > 1:40 as positive. The nephelometry test is usually reported in international units and the normal range is dependent on the specific laboratory usually < 20 IU.


    Rheumatoid factor is not sensitive nor specific enough to rule in or out rheumatoid arthritis. The rheumatoid factor is present in 70-80% of patients who have RA. This means that 20-30% of patients with RA are seronegative for rheumatoid factor. It is most useful as a prognostic indicator in patients with RA. People with RA who are rheumatoid factor positive typically have a more aggressive disease. It is also useful in confirming one's clinical impression that a polyarthritis that looks like RA is even more likely to be RA. It is also followed in patients with Sjogren's disease to predict the development of lymphoma. Rheumatoid factor production may be a way for the immune system to enlarge immune complexes to make them more easily removed by the spleen and other immune organs.

  10. Hope4Sofia

    Hope4Sofia New Member

    I have a high CRP and a high Sed rate - both are indications of inflammation.

    It is confusing.

    My spine, hands and feet all ache.

    I wish we could just get some solid answers.


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