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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...
About a month ago I had my first endocrinologist appointment since well before Mateo was born. During the pregnancies, my perinatologist (high-risk OB) took care of all of my diabetes management with a focus on tightly controlled blood sugars. In the weeks leading up to the endo appointment, I'd had a couple epiphanies I was looking forward to acting on.
First of all, I noticed that the blood glucose range I'd unconsciously been striving for was probably too restrictive for a non-pregnant diabetic. All the years of trying to keep my blood glucose level between 70-140 mg/dl had really skewed my perception of what constituted a "high" blood sugar. For instance, I would get a result of 150 mg/dl and correct it, which often led to lows. It dawned on me one day, "I don't have to correct for a 150 mg/dl!"
This led me to another revelation: if I'm able to keep my blood sugar steady within a slightly wider range of blood suga...
What Does PSA Mean? PSA is a blood test that is commonly used to help predict the presence of prostate cancer . It stands for Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and refers to a protein first identified in 1979 that is made only by the prostate gland. It is currently used as a tumor marker and can also help monitor disease progression or lack of recurrent disease in patients who have previously undergone treatment for prostate cancer . A tremendous amount of confusion exists amongst patients and the popular press regarding PSA. Part of this lack of understanding has occurred because many think that an elevation in the PSA level means that one definitely has prostate cancer. In actuality, this is not true and this article should help clarify some of the confusion surrounding PSA testing. Most important is the “S” in PSA, which refers to the protein being specific to the prostate gland and not specific to cancer. Many conditions, both benign ...
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