I am in a large room in a downtown Toronto hotel, chairs lined up facing the front and around me are over 300 other people, most of whom are here for the same reason I am. A quick glance at hands confirm membership in the RA club - there are more swan necks than down at the waterfront! I am amongst my peeps.
We are here for an RA forum with the impossibly charming title of "The Most Exciting EVER in the History of the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis." The evening is organized by The Arthritis Society and after an introduction by our MC David West, a member of the National Board of Directors, we hear from Mary Kim, who tells us of how RA sidelined her life and then she found a career with The Arthritis Society as a Master Trainer and a leader in the Arthritis Management Program. And then it is time for the keynote speech by Dr. Edward Keystone , a prominent Canadian rheumatologist.
For the next hour and a half, the audience was captivated. Dr. Keystone is a terrific spea...
I just returned from a long weekend with my dad, step mom, and little brother inStamford,Connecticut. It was a very long drive there—about eight hours—because of traffic going past the shore points inNew Jersey, then around busyNew York City. Of course, the bumper-to-bumper was well worth it when I finally got to see my sweet dad. He has been suffering from a very serious blood disorder since last summer, and was just last month released from the hospital after a long stay in isolation. His prognosis looks good, and he seems to be making a full recovery. He is almost completely bald though from the chemo, so that was quite a shock upon first glance. Dad was still dad under that bald head though, and I was thrilled to see him and spend some much needed quality time with my “Yankee” family.
My step mother is seriously one of the sweetest people on earth, and she is most definitely a nurturer. And by nurturer, I mean she loves to feed me. Every morning of m...
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...
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