What Is Rheumatoid Factor?
If you develop swelling in the fingers, feet, or other joints of your body, it could be an early sign of
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Hello, I'm Dr. Robert Fenell, founder of HandAndFootClinicsOfAmerica.com, on behalf of About.com, to share with you what rheumatoid factor is.The rheumatoid factor test is used to diagnose rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren's Syndrome, and help distinguish those conditions from other forms of arthritis or other conditions that mimic or have very similar symptomatology to rheumatoid arthritis. If you start to develop symptoms of pain or discomfort or swelling in your fingers or feet or ankles or knees or various joints of your body, you could be developing early signs and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.If you see your primary care doctor, he or she may elect to do a blood test where they test for antibodies that are called rheumatoid factor. When rheumatoid factor is present in your bloodstream, it's a good indicator that you may be suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. However, if you came back with a positive finding on a rheumatoid factor test, that does not necessarily guarantee that you have rheumatoid arthritis. The diagnosis for rheumatoid arthritis is comprised of both laboratory testing, as well as the physical findings and symptomatology the patient presented with in the first place.Many people have a positive rheumatoid factor test, but they are totally healthy. And on the flip side, there are many people who have rheumatoid arthritis, they've had the diagnosis, but time and time again, they will consistently test negative for rheumatoid factor. So a rheumatoid factor test by itself is not diagnostic for rheumatoid arthritis. However, it's one tool that your doctor may use in the overall clinical picture of your arthritis condition.Thanks so much for watching today. To learn more, visit us online at About.com.