The CCP (cyclic citrullinated peptide) blood test is ordered with a number of other tests to determine what an individual’s rheumatoid factor happens to be. This is useful in determining the likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis being the cause of bothersome symptoms and what course the disease is likely to take in the future. It is very common for medical providers to order tests to detect inflammatory markers in addition to the anti CCP blood test.
What is being detected with this test are the antibodies that are associated with the immune system response to the peptides. Although this test isn’t specific enough to create a diagnosis on its own, about 95% of people who have a positive test result will be able to meet the diagnostic criteria for rheumatoid arthritis at some point in the future if they do not meet them immediately.
When To Talk About the Anti CCP Blood Test
When there are the signs and symptoms of arthritis present, then the anti CCP blood test may be ordered to eliminate or confirm the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis. This typically occurs when there are painful and warm wrist and hand joints. This may also occur in the feet, knees, hip,s elbows, shoulder, or the neck. The joint is usually stiff in the morning, but will begin to loosen up during the rest of the day.
It is common to experience higher levels of fatigue and a fever. Some individuals may experienced the development of nodules near the elbow. It is fairly common to have a general feeling of not being well if rheumatoid arthritis is present as well.
Women are generally more likely than men to develop the signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, especially those between the ages of 45-60. 3 out of 4 people who are affected by RA fit into this specific demographic. Rheumatoid arthritis may progress very slowly or may progress rapidly. Some may go into remission and others may have challenging symptoms that can be disabling.
What Do the Test Results Mean?
The anti CCP blood test is a rather new test that is becoming widely used, but the standardized RF test is generally ordered along with it or instead of it by many providers. That’s because a positive test result can mean that another autoimmune condition besides rheumatoid arthritis may be present. Sjogren syndrome, Graves disease, and lupus are all possibilities with a positive test result. Some individuals with a confirmed tuberculosis diagnosis have also been known to have a positive anti CCP blood test.
These antibodies can be detected in as little as 3 months in individuals who have developed a high rheumatoid factor. Early detection allows for an aggressive treatment plan to be created so that the bothersome symptoms can be minimized, as can the potential for tissue damage.
Negative results may not necessarily mean the lack of a disease or disorder either. It is possible to have an autoimmune disorder like rheumatoid arthritis and have a negative anti CCP blood test. For this reason, only a medical provider will be able to interpret individualized test results and compare them with symptoms to determine a diagnosis.
The levels of antibodies will fluctuate over time if a positive test result is received. Ongoing testing can help a medical provider determine how effective a treatment plan is performing. The antibodies will never go away, however, even if the autoimmune disorder happens to go into remission. Antibody levels do not always go down when treatments are received either.
Here’s What You Need To Know
There are numerous tests that a medical provider may run in addition to the anti CCP blood test. This includes a complete blood count, synovial fluid testing, and ANA blood tests. These are done to check for other potential health issues, especially anemia and signs of inflammation, that are common with individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis. Other testing is performed to help exclude the possibility that lupus could be causing the bothersome symptoms instead of rheumatoid arthritis.
Every medical provider treats the diagnostic process toward rheumatoid arthritis a little differently. Some providers may not have the appropriate testing facilities to determine results from the anti CCP blood test. It may take 3-5 business days for full results to return.
Only a medical provider has the ability to interpret what specific results may mean from this blood test based on an individual’s medical history or answer specific health questions.