RF. ESR. Anti-CCP. ANA. CPR. No, these aren’t codes used by secret agents to communicate their missions. They’re names of blood tests used in diagnosing and managing rheumatoid arthritis. When you’re new to this disease, they can seem as mysterious and impenetrable as a secret language. What do they measure? What do the numbers mean? What’s normal, what isn’t? This post is all about demystifying RA blood tests .
RA Blood Tests
There are a number of blood tests that can be used when doctors are trying to find out if you have RA, as well as indicators of how the disease is managed. Some of the most common blood tests are:
Rheumatoid Factor (RF) . RF is a type of antibody that may be associated with inflammation. This is usually one of the first tests your family doctor will order if they suspect you might have inflammatory arthritis. However, it’s important to know that 20-30 percent of people with RA are negative for RF (also called seron...
My name is Cathee and I am currently 35 yrs old. I was diagnosed
with Rheumatoid Arthritis when I was 27. My introduction to RA was
rather quick. In fact, I had actually never heard of RA when I went
to see my doctor about a swollen knuckle. My finger had been
swollen for about 2 months and as I was reading through a magazine
I found an article about lyme disease. Since I spent a lot of time
hiking in the woods with my dog, I began to think I might have
contracted lyme disease from a tick. I went to my family physician
and luckily she had an instinct about what was going on with me and
sent me to see a Rheumatologist. The Rheumatologist immediately
ordered blood work and I was officially diagnosed with RA in March
of 1997. I didnt have any other symptoms at the time except
for the one swollen joint until August 1997. Literally overnight, I
became almost bed ridden. It was if I went to sleep as one person
and woke up another.
Since that fateful night, I have battled this crippli...
While I’m sitting on the exam table with my legs dangling, the neurologist reaches for a metal object. He’s already poked me several times with the safety pin so I’m wondering what he plans to do with this larger pointy thing. He grasps my foot and scraps the object on the bottom of my foot along the outermost side and under the toes. My big toe jumps and the other toes look like they are trying to get away from the torture device. I have just demonstrated a positive Babinski sign.
During a standard neurological exam, the doctor will test many reflexes, or involuntary responses to stimuli. Much of that is done with a rubber mallet as the doctor taps various tendons and measures the response. However not all reflex tests involve the rubber mallet. One very important reflex test involves scraping the bottom of the foot.
“When the doctor scraps the bottom of my feet, what is he looking for?”
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