Help understand results

S3ren85 Member Posts: 10
edited 26. Aug 2019, 22:13 in Living with arthritis
Hi everyone,

I've just received my blood test results back, I've tested positive for CCP and have a rheumatoid factor of 44. The letter from the hospital says all my results indicate that I have sero positive rheumatoid arthritis. I'm trying not to worry too much but my appointment with the rheumatologist consultant isnt for another 5 weeks!

Can you please help me understand what this all means? What scale is the rheumatoid factor measured on? It's a bit frustrating being given a score of 44 but not knowing whether that's out of 50 or 1000!

Thanks :)


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,725
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    To be honest, I've never understood the letters and numbers thing. The important thing is that you have a diagnosis so can soon start treatment. I hope it goes really well for you.
    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • trepolpen
    trepolpen Member Posts: 504
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    with RF you can be positive & still not have RA , mine was about 450 , the scale means very little , its what your consultant says that matters

    some of us on here have had RA a long time & the drugs now are alot better than when I first started & if you have RA they can control it very well now , so try to stay positive
  • Elmbow
    Elmbow Member Posts: 80
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi there - it's not really a question of the number being "out of" anything. There isn't a single test for rheumatoid arthritis. It's a clinical diagnosis - based on signs, symptoms and medical history, rather than on a single lab test or scan.

    With rheumatoid factor, they test how your blood reacts to a certain substance. People who have rheumatoid arthritis are more likely than others to have a certain observable reaction. Then they dilute the blood repeatedly until there is no reaction. The number in your test result refers to how diluted your blood is before they cease to get a reaction. Above a certain number is considered positive, and the higher the number the more "strongly" positive it is, which can relate to severity of symptoms but doesn't necessarily. Positive numbers range from about 20 to the hundreds (maybe even thousands?).

    The test results themselves are really only confirmation of what the doctor already suspects based on your symptoms and other signs, and aren't very useful on their own. Some people have high RF with no disease (it's not very specific to rheumatoid arthritis and can simply increase with age). On the other hand, anti-CCP (a protein that is sometimes present in the blood) is rarely found in people who do not develop the disease (it's very specific to rheumatoid arthritis).

    I'm sorry you've got this diagnosis, and I know waiting weeks for an appointment is incredibly frustrating. Versus Arthritis has a helpline you could call, as does NRAS (rheumatoid arthritis specific charity).

    Definitely talk to someone about how you're feeling, because you want to make the most of your appointment when it comes and it can help to get things clear in your mind first - work out what questions you want to ask etc. Remember everyone's RA is different and don't worry too much about other people's experiences. If you have a good GP, they might also be worth talking to. Wishing you lots of luck.
  • S3ren85
    S3ren85 Member Posts: 10
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks everyone that's all really useful :) it's good just to have other people on here to talk to. I have a good support system in place with hubby, friends and family but speaking to people who are going through or who have had similar experiences really helps to reassure me so thank you :) I'm just taking care of myself and remaining positive, we'll see what the consultant says in September and take it from there. Hope you're all ok!