Rheumatoid factor

Hi all, 

I was wondering if people could share their opinions/experienceson my situation. I've had wrist/hand pain weakness stiffness slight inflammation on and off since November. Particularly worse in mornings and whilst sleeping. I recently visited the doctor who did bloodtest's,  all came back fine apart from being positive RF. 20.09. Not sure what this result means? Being reffered to rheumatologist as doctor was concerned it has been 5 months since initial symptom's. 

14 Replies

  • 20.9 RF not 20.09! 

  • This means that you have a positive result for Rheumatoid Factor, indicating that you may have rheumatoid arthritis. It's good that you have discovered it so soon, many of us have taken years to get a diagnosis. Some have a negative RF ( I am one) and are then diagnosed as sero negative RA or may go on to be diagnosed with a different type of inflammatory arthritis. It might help the rheumatologist if you keep a diary of any symptoms and if you get swelling/redness, photographs will help too because, odds are that when you get to see him/her, they will have disappeared! Hope you get seen soon and get a firm diagnosis. Clemmie

  • Hi clemmie

    Thank you for replying. Hopefully I hear about the rheumatologist apt soon as I have no idea how long it takes to come through .

  • Thankyou kai. I will have a look at the info suggested.

  • You can read about the RF blood test and what a positive result might mean here: labtestsonline.org.uk/under...

    Hope this helps. Good luck with your referral and I hope that it is soon for you.

  • Yes I've been using that site to read up on the tests already. I just wondered what the 20.9 meant and what the range is etc.  I hope it is soon also. Thank you.

  • Ranges can be different in different laboratories so you will need to ask your doctor what the range is at the lab where your blood test was  processed. Clemmie

  • What a pain! Thank you

  • If you're in the UK it can take up to 12 weeks to get an appointment, sadly.  Did your GP discuss temporary relief like NSAIDs in the meantime?  Although you'll want to steer clear just before your appointment so as not to mask any symptoms.  And keep a diary of symptoms too.  It's amazing how quickly you forget!

    As Barrister says, different labs do have slightly different reference points, but with many of them anything under 20 is considered to be negative.  So it's likely that you are in the weak positive range, which is good as can indicate that it's been picked up early, or that it will be mild. 

  • Hi helixhelix

    Thank you for replying . 12 weeks can be a long time to wait when your anxious and worried but understand that the nhs are busy! 

    No nsaids discussed yet no. I don't think I was quite with it when he said positive RF. I have taken ibuprofen before but hasn't helped. I'm already keeping a rough diary so hopefully it will come in useful. 

    Hopefully it's mild then. We shall see what happens I guess.  

  • Hiya Julia & welcome. As has already been said an RF of less than 20 is considered normal, but it's not the only test, your pain & inflammation however slight will have been taken into consideration for your GP to refer you to Rheumatology. If you're uncomfortable do see your GP again, he should be able to prescribe something more effective than over the counter anti inflammatories for you, pain relief as well if necessary. My GP prescribed both but did suggest I stopped taking them a few days before my diagnostic appointment in order to have reliable baseline results, further blood tests, imaging & examinations. It makes sense really because your Rheumy needs to see you med free to diagnose & start you on appropriate treatment & doses. 

    I hope you don't have too long to wait but if you need any help in the meantime we're here & happy to help & share our experiences.

  • Hi and Thank you. 

    It's not too bad at the min as it seems to flare up every few weeks but I'll see doctor if it gets bad again.  It does make sense to be med free so the rheumatologist can diagnose properly. 

    Everyone's experiences are different but it helps to know people's experiences as they can be so similar. 

    Thank you for replying 

  • I hope your appointment isn't too long in coming then you can start treatment. Flaring every couple of weeks isn't good. We're here if you need us in the meantime.

  • Thank you so much. Everyone seems so nice ☺

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