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Rheumatoid Arthritis Panel

rheu·​ma·​toid ar·​thri·​tis

What are autoantibodies?

Three autoantibody biomarkers are used to test for rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that affects more than 1.5 million Americans¹.

Antibodies are part of your immune system that identify and help eliminate foreign invaders in your body, like a virus. Autoantibodies—sometimes mistakenly produced by the immune system—attack your own tissues. This can lead to autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. 


What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and joint pain, usually starting with small joints in the hands and feet and progressing to other joints.


What does the rheumatoid arthritis panel test for?

The rheumatoid arthritis panel detects the presence of 3 autoantibodies that are common in those with rheumatoid arthritis: citrullinated peptide antibody (CCP IgG) and 2 rheumatoid factor (RF) biomarkers, RF IgM and RF IgA. The CCP antibody test is 97% specific for rheumatoid arthritis². Because low levels of RF autoantibodies have been found in those who do not have rheumatoid arthritis, healthcare professionals might test for other biomarkers and take other health information into account before diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis.


When should I test for rheumatoid arthritis?

You may want to test for rheumatoid arthritis if you begin to experience symptoms of the disease. In the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis, your joints may be painful, warm, or swollen. These symptoms may gradually get worse or come and go over the course of days or weeks. Fatigue is another early symptom of developing rheumatoid arthritis, though it is common to many other conditions as well. As the disease progresses, affected joints will become stiff and exhibit mild to severe pain. 


How can I improve my rheumatoid arthritis symptoms?

Medications can relieve symptoms and reduce the inflammation and pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Other drugs can slow down the progression of the disease. Low-impact exercise and an anti-inflammatory diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables, omega-3 fatty acid-rich foods, and minimizing red meat and dairy can help relieve symptoms.

References

  1. Almutairi KB, Nossent JC, Preen DB, et al. The Prevalence of Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Systematic Review of Population-based Studies. J Rheumatol 2021;48(5):669–676.
  2. Vallbracht I, Rieber J, Oppermann M, et al. Diagnostic and clinical value of anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies compared with rheumatoid factor isotypes in rheumatoid arthritis. Ann Rheum Dis 2004;63(9):1079–1084.
Last updated:
September 23, 2021

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