Thursday, July 02, 2009 LauraMM, Community Member, asks

Q: What do the levels of RA factor mean?

Thanks for all of the recommendations to see the rheumatologist.  I do have a referral from my doctor to see him and she has talked to him about my condition which on initial conversation with my GP he believes it is probably rheumatoid.  What I don't know is what the numbers mean exactly other than they "are not normal".  My CCP was positive and my RA factor was 237 (which I know normal is under 20).  From everything I've read it seems having a number that high tends to represent a more aggressive form, is this true?  I will hopefully see the rheumatologist soon but until then I'm looking for as many answers as possible seeing as it's usually diagnosed between 40-50 and I'm only 26.  Thanks.

Answer This
Answers (5)
Lene Andersen, Health Guide
7/ 3/09 12:48pm

The specifics about what the numbers in a blood test mean are little out of the scope of expertise of the people who answer questions here - none of us are doctors, but answer based on our own experiences. However, we recently interviewed a doctor regarding blood tests, numbers and what it all means and you can read that here.

Kelly Young, Community Member
7/ 2/09 12:32pm

Hi Coming-


RA is usually diagnosed between 30 and 50 , but not too rare in the 20's.

The numbers just mean it is probably RA. It is possible to have high numbers and not have bad sypmtoms. However, like you heard, it often does correlate with aggressive RA. What all that means to you? Get treated soon. And you are.


You are so right about asking lots of questions. It is so important. I want to encourage you to keep reading! :D I have written an article called RA Requires disease control and pain control , I think. you can read it here. 


Good luck to you,

Kelly  Cool


kduvall, Community Member
9/10/09 2:37pm

I was 24 when I was first diagnoised with SLE (Lupus).  My ANA was positive as well as my RA.  Within the past 6 months, I change Primary Care doctor's and he did a full work up of blood tests.  I have been suffering with a severely low platelet count.  When I returned for a follow up visit, he explained to me that my RA factor was 320 and 20 was normal.  My joints constantly ache.  It's to the point now that I don't think that I will be able to work.  I think it will be a tremendous hassle to try and get disability.  Please let us know what your doctor said.

LauraMM, Community Member
9/10/09 3:05pm

Well, I did see my Rheumy in early July and because it's still early, I was in a bit of a remission when I saw him so he couldn't make a defniitive diagnosis.  But he does believe it's RA he just can't say how bad it could get.  He did, however, say that with my RA factor being over 200 it does tend to mean it will be a more agressive RA.  He sent me for more blood tests to rule out other possibilities but tends not to share the results so I'll check into that when I see him again in January (he wants to see me every 6 months for now).  Once I started taking Naproxen and Plaquenil it made a difference.  The pain seems to primarily stay in my smaller joints but for longer periods of time.  For example, it's been in my right index finger for almost 2 months now.  When my larger joints are sore, it's not as severe and doesn't last as long although the fatigue gets the best of me some days.  I missed a morning dose of my meds on two separate occasions and between the pain and fatigue, I paid for that mistake for two days after!  I am able to do most things but I try to keep a level head about not lifting things that are too heavy and I take the elevator rather than the stairs when my feet and toes are sore.  I find if I push through the pain it only makes it worse so I'm still learning to be sensible about it (although it makes me feel lazy).

brenda, Community Member
10/ 5/10 10:09pm

my knees fingers and hips have hurt me for a long long time since i was about 35 they swell and get real hot also i have real bad broken viens in my legs and ankles i have also had breast cancer and had to take radation could that have a effect on me because my immune system is broke down also my lymph nodes were taken out

Miami, Community Member
8/ 7/13 10:01am

Do you have root canals there is lots of evidence connecting dental work with RA.

LauraMM, Community Member
8/ 7/13 10:37pm
No, I have never had a root canal. When I first posted this question, everything was so new. My doctor was right though, it was an aggressive form. Within 6 months I was put on biologics. I failed the first two biologics and started walking with a cane. I began chemotherapy (Rituxan) a year and a half ago. I am now starting to notice this one is not working as well as it was and this is longest I've been on any medication so far. Luckily the Rituxan gave me enough of a break to be able to become active again which helps keep my pain and stiffness under control and to lose 50lbs. I still have a lot more to lose that I gained after my diagnosis but I take things day by day. I am an advocate for The Arthritis Society, help them to lobby the government and help to bring awareness to the general public. I am not alone in my efforts with TAS advocacy though. Six months after I was diagnosed, my sister was diagnosed. Eight months after that our father was diagnosed (my mom is the only one without it now). I have 18 year old and 17 year old paternal cousins who have also just been diagnosed. I can promise you my RA is not related to dental work... Reply
Jennifer 1982, Community Member
9/24/13 5:09am

I'm trying to find out the same thing I mis pregnant with ra so I can't take my meds but my foot started hurting today it is throbbing my ra numbers are at 802.1 but I don't know what that means 

Answer This

We hope you find this general health information helpful. Please note however, that this Q&A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. No information in the Answers above is intended to diagnose or treat any condition. The views expressed in the Answers above belong to the individuals who posted them and do not necessarily reflect the views of Remedy Health Media. Remedy Health Media does not review or edit content posted by our community members, but reserves the right to remove any material it deems inappropriate.

By LauraMM, Community Member— Last Modified: 09/24/13, First Published: 07/02/09