RA101: Lab tests for RA

To diagnose rheumatoid arthritis (RA), doctors may use lab tests to detect over-reactive white blood cells that can cause RA.1,2

Some of the tests look for:1,3-6

Signs of inflammation Improper immune responses
  • C-reactive protein (CRP): A protein made by the liver when there’s inflammation throughout the body.
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR): Red blood cells (erythrocyte) clump together when there’s inflammation. This makes them sink (sedimentation) faster in a test tube.
  • Rheumatoid factor (RF) and Anti-citrullinated peptide antibody (ACPA): Antibodies the body makes against healthy cells. Antibodies are proteins used by white blood cells to identify suitable targets.
 
 

To learn more:

RA101

References: 1. Smolen JS, et al. Lancet 2016. Published online: May 3, 2016. 2. UpToDate. Patients information: Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and diagnosis (beyond the basics). Available at http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed on May 05, 2016. 3. MedlinePlus. C-reactive protein. Available at https://www.nlm.nih.gov. Accessed on May 25, 2016. 4. Medline Plus. ESR. Available at http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com. Accessed on May 25, 2016. 5. Mayo Clinic. Test ID: RHUT. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org. Accessed on May 30, 2016. 6. Mayo Clinic. Test ID: CCP. Available at http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com. Accessed on May 30, 2016.

Last updated: September 17, 2016.
Photo adapted from original by PublicDomainPictures used under license.

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