Rheumatoid factor?: Hi I've been having... - Arthritis Action

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Rheumatoid factor?



I've been having pain and stiffness in my hands for about a month now. Particularly at night. General feeling of unwell, aching etc.

Went to the doctor and they took bloods.

It came back with abnormal rheumatoid factor. Number was 28.

I have no idea what this means, but I really feel unwell.

There wasn't any note from the doctor telling me what to do when I spoke to results.

My c reactive protein was normal, and apparently erthrycyte sedimentation rate wasn't tested as apparently the sample was over 24 hours old when it got to the lab?

I'm not sleeping well and Lying in bed worrying about what might be wrong with me.

9 Replies

The rheumatoid factor is not a hugely specific test, but your result is a weak positive. Under 20 is considered negative. Many people with a positive rheumatoid factor have nothing wrong with them at all, but since you do have some symptoms you do have a possibility that you are heading towards inflammatory arthritis. Feeling generally unwell as well as painful joints are both common symptoms. However, a normal CRP suggests that if you do, it is at a very early stage.

I suggest you need to go back to your GP and ask to be referred to a rheumatologist. They can do more specific tests. You might have to push a bit, as with a normal CRP they could be reluctant.

But really don't worry, as stress is not good for rheumatoid conditions! They can be managed well these days, so do avoid horror stories on google.

Hidden in reply to helixhelix

Thanks so much for the reply. I just needed an informed answer.

I feel like I've got flu ( without the mucus or cold symptoms)

Don't want to move, deep aches, fingers are incredibly sore at the joints, so much worse at night.

If I do have arthritis, is it managed well without symptoms these days? I suffer with depression and I go to the gym every single morning to keep it at bay. Not being able to do that for days at a time would drive me off the rails...😬

As I feel now. There is no way I can excercise...

Exercise is very good for these conditions, so that plus the fact that you seem to be at a very early stage are all good signs. If you do have rheumatoid arthritis (and I'm not a doctor so you need to get it checked properly) then for most people you can get back to fairly normal quite quickly. Some people struggle with the drugs, but again exercise really helps.

Even if you can't do your normal exercise right now, do try to keep moving as much as you can.

Hidden in reply to helixhelix

Thankyou. Exercise is my thing, I'm really missing it as the last week I haven't been up to going. I've walked the dog, but I don't even feel like doing that. I'm going to see my GP on Monday.


I've heard that swimming is a good exercise for RA. Not saying this from experience, as I can't swim. But if you can, give it a try. Some have also Nordic walking.

Hidden in reply to Hidden

Thanks. I do swim and I also use the cross trainer at the gym which is like Nordic walking.

It's very early days so I don't really know what's happening and how I'll be affected, all I know is that it makes me feel pretty crappy at the moment. I'll know more next week.

Thankyou for your help.


I've had RA since 1987 (36 years old). I was sero negative until 2014 when I suddenly became sero positive. I already had Sjogren's Syndrome, Bronchiectasis with Pseudomonas colonisation. Now I also have Vasculitis, Osteoarthritis and Osteoporosis. RA is the least of my problems!! I'm 66 now.

Hidden in reply to Hidden

Hope you're ok. Seriously, see a different consultant?


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