Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 leelee, Community Member, asks

Q: what does it mean if my rheumatoid factor is 20?

I was diagnoised with Psoriatic arthritis last year.  My rh factor result is 20? Does it make since to have psoriatic arthritis and not rheumatoid arthritis?

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Answers (2)
ronie, Community Member
6/29/10 10:58pm

A normal RF range is 1-20 where 20-80 signifies higher levels. 


Both Psoriatic Arthritis and RA are classified as autoimmune so it makes since for your doc to run a complete blood panel including tests for RA. 


There are slight differences between PA and RA. Most people see the word psoriatic and think skin issues (rashes and massive dry skin) although a lot of PA patients do not have much more than a few issues with their nails. 


PA is asymmetric meaning one side of the body can be affected and not the other.  With RA we usually have both hands or both knees involved at the same time


Evidence of PA is "sausage fingers." (self explanatory). RA has "big knuckles"


PA effects the DIP joints of the fingers (distral interphalangeal joints or the tips of the fingers)

RA effects the PIP joints of the hands (proximal interphalangeal joints or the area between the hand knuckles and middle of the finger)


There are several differences that you can look up on the internet.  Some of the sypmtoms for PA and RA are similar so you can scan through the checklists and stuff to judge for yourself or to consider a second opinion. or may be of some help if you do not have a favor website that you turn to. 


Good luck finding your answers or give a ring back if you have any more questions.



DebbieM123, Community Member
6/30/10 9:43am

It makes a lot of sense.

I just think your doctor is being cautious which is never a bad thing.

There are some cases where one can have a more severe psoriatic arthritis, and hands, feet, spine can be affected largely as well. It just really depends on the person and the case and what your doctors feel.  

Sometimes doctors will look at that 20 you have for a Ra factor and say well I think you have Psoriatic arthritis like I said last year because he or she sees no other evidence to make him conclude its actually Ra.

When testing for rheumatoid arthritis, a panel of tests can be
ordered, the results of which will  give the diagnosing doctor the
bigger picture after your physical exam and medical history. This panel usually consists of a test for Ra, a sed
rate (ESR), C-reactive protein (CRP) and ANA (Anti-nuclear
antibodies). X-rays too may be ordered. Together, these test results
can better determine if you truly have rheumatoid arthritis, and if
not, they may suggest the presence of a non-rheumatoid inflammatory
process like what you have now.

There are numerous other auto-immune disorders that can cause an elevated Ra factor and psoriatic arthritis is one of them.

Keep us informed of what your doctors say.

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By leelee, Community Member— Last Modified: 12/25/10, First Published: 06/29/10