Have you just been told that you have rheumatoid arthritis because of your RA turbid blood test results? This is a test that is similar to other blood panels that help to measure the amount of Rheumatoid Factor [RF] antibodies that are in a person’s blood. Antibodies are usually produced by the immune system to stop a virus or bacteria that is attempting to invade the body. With RF antibodies, however, the immune system will begin attaching to and then destroying normal body tissues.
Having a high result on the RA turbid blood test can be caused by a number of different autoimmune diseases or infections, so rheumatoid arthritis is just one of the conditions can result. Sometimes elevated RF levels can even be found in people who do not have a disease present.
Why Is This Blood Test Ordered?
Most of the time, the RA turbid blood test is ordered to support a suspicion of rheumatoid arthritis. It make also be ordered to determine if a child has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or other related diseases. This test is one of the most reliable methods to track the progression of the autoimmune disease when it is present as well.
If you’ve been ordered by your doctor to have an RA turbid blood test, then you don’t need to do anything before having the test done. You may wish to speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have regarding the test and the outcomes that the results may mean.
Complications from having this blood test done are extremely rare. Most negative side effects come from bruising that occurs at the blood draw site. By keeping pressure on the blood draw site for several minutes afterward, the chances of bruising can be dramatically reduced. Some people may have an issue called “phlebitis” occur, which occurs when the vein swells up after the blood sample is taken. A warm compress can resolve this issue.
Most results will be reported within 24 hours of the blood draw being performed.
How Is the RF Factor Measured?
Once the blood has been drawn, the results of the test may be reported in a wide variety of ways. A common form of measurement is to determine how much the blood sample can be diluted by a saline solution before the RF factor will disappear. If it takes 80 parts saline solution for the RF factor to disappear, then there will be more antibodies present than if just 20 parts saline solution were used.
A measurement of light through the blood sample may also be used to determine RF rates. Blood with high RF will appear cloudy, so less light will be able to pass through the sample.
It is important to remember with the RA turbid test that the normal values are considered a reference range. Different labs may have different methods of determining what is a normal or an abnormal sample. You may wish to discuss with your doctor what your local lab’s ranges are and receive a second opinion, especially if your RA turbid blood test is only slightly off.
What Are Some Other Reasons For a High RF?
Although rheumatoid arthritis is usually suspected from a positive RA turbid blood test, there may be other health issues that are present.
1. Infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, may cause a positive result.
2. Endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart, may cause a high RF.
3. Any autoimmune disease may create antibodies that create positive results.
4. Leukemia is also know to create a positive result.
Some people may not benefit from having the RA turbid blood test. When blood has high levels of fat contained within it or someone has had multiple blood transfusions or vaccinations in the recent past, then the results of this blood test may be inconclusive. People above the age of 65 also have naturally higher levels of RF in their blood, which may cause a false positive result to the blood test.
Your entire medical history and pattern of symptoms will be combined with the results of this blood test to come to a diagnosis. You may be referred to a specialist if your results are above 200, but even that is not a guarantee of RA being present.
The RA turbid blood test is just a specific test to measure the rheumatoid factor. A high result does not necessarily mean that rheumatoid arthritis is present, so speak with your doctor after receiving your results to make sure any questions you have can be addressed.