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TracyDawn
09-20-2006, 12:44 PM
One of my co-workers has RA really bad. They have run some blood tests and told her that her SED rate and RA Factor are both really high right now. Can you explain what those are? I've never really understood that and she asked if I knew. (The dr is going to talk to her at length about it at her appt next month but as we all know, it's hard to wait that long sometimes. ;) )
Thanks a bunch!

Saysusie
09-21-2006, 08:14 AM
Hi TracyDawn :lol:
RA is what we call a "sister-disease" to lupus and, like lupus, it is a very difficult disease to diagnose. The SED rate (also called ESR which means Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) is one of the blood tests that doctors use when attempting to diagnose RA (and Lupus).

The Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate Test (ESR or sed rate) measures how fast red blood cells (erythrocytes) fall to the bottom of a fine glass tube that is filled with the patient's blood. The higher the sed rate, the greater the inflammation. The test is used, then, not for diagnosis but to help to determine how serious the condition is.

Rheumatoid Factor (RA Factor: In RA, antibodies that collect in the synovium (clear lubricating fluid secreted by membranes in the joints, cavities, sheaths of tendons and brusae) of the joint are known as rheumatoid factor . In about 80% of cases of rheumatoid arthritis, blood tests reveal rheumatoid factor. It can also show up in blood tests of people with other diseases. However, when it appears in patients with arthritic pain on both sides of the body, it is a strong indicator of type 2 RA. The presence of rheumatoid factor plus evidence of bone damage on x-rays also suggests a significant chance for progressive joint damage.
Analyzing the synovial fluid might prove to be helpful in detecting markers of joint destruction. Some investigative examples include the following:
* An enzyme called MMP-3 (matrix metalloproteinase 3) is involved with the degradation of cartilage. Its presence in synovial fluid is strongly associated with progressive joint destruction in patients with chronic RA.
* High levels urocortin, a member of the peptide family involved in the stress response, may also be a major player in the RA inflammation.

I hope that I have answered your question. Let me know if you need anything further!

Peace and Blessings
Saysusie

TracyDawn
09-21-2006, 08:47 AM
thanks a bunch. I think that covered all the bases. :) :)