Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory condition that primarily affects your joints. The most common form is seropositive RA.
A person with this condition has antibodies in their blood that help doctors identify the disease through blood tests.
To define whether you have RA you’ll have to visit your doctor for a lengthy consultation. At the very least this will include a physical examination and a range of blood tests. Your blood will be tested for markers that are commonly seen in patients who display rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The main markers the doctors are looking for are called Rheumatoid factors (RF).
These antibodies are also known as anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCPs) .
The presence of both anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCPs) and rheumatoid factor proteins in the blood is connected to systemic inflammation which in the case of RA is located in the joints.
The onset of swollen joints and the discovery of antibodies in a sufferer’s blood tests are typically the first indicator that someone is developing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Those with seronegative RA don’t show these antibodies in their blood tests, but still display very prominent rheumatoid arthritis symptoms that need treatment by a doctor.
Sufferers who have seropositive rheumatoid arthritis experience symptoms that are comparable to those who have the seronegative version of the disease; however, the symptoms of seropositive antibody disease are typically more severe and can cause greater deformity. Deformity is not just confined to the hands. Any joint in the body can suffer deforming actions of a prolonged and unresolved autoimmune episode.
What is Seropositive RA?
As we mentioned, seropositive RA is the most common form of rheumatoid arthritis. A person with this condition has antibodies in their blood that help identify the disease. These antibodies are called anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCPs) or rheumatoid factors (RF). Either or both of these can be present. Their presence is associated with inflammation of the joints and the onset of RA symptoms.
Symptoms of Seropositive RA
The symptoms of seropositive RA are similar to those of seronegative RA, but they are generally more severe and cause greater deformities. Common symptoms include:
• Joint pain and swelling
• Joint stiffness
• Weight loss
• Loss of appetite
Joints affected by RA may feel warm to the touch due to inflammation. Additionally, over time, untreated joint damage may lead to deformity. Deformities commonly occur in the hands and fingers. In extreme cases, joint damage can lead to an inability to use the affected joints properly. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor who can diagnose your condition and develop a treatment plan.
If you have any combination of the above symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible so you can receive an accurate diagnosis and begin treatment. While there is no cure for RA, early diagnosis and treatment can help minimize joint damage and pain, improve function, and prevent disability. There are many different treatment options available, so working with a doctor experienced in treating arthritis will be key in finding the best option for you.