By Jason Comly
RA Factor, also known as rheumatoid factor, or RF Factor is an autoantibody. In layman terms, this essentially means that it is an antibody that attacks the host organism’s own tissues. If we look more closely at the process, it actually binds itself to other antibodies, and corrupts them. RA Factor is a very uncommon affliction, and is only discovered in less than 3% of normal healthy people. Its most common effect is the contribution and also the direct link cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
Rheumatoid factor Testing
Any arthritis or any patient suspected of having arthritis is tested for Rheumatoid Factor, even though this may not be the direct cause for their personal form of arthritis. The test (dubbed Waaler or Waaler-Rose test, a tribute to the test’s developer, Dr. Erik Waaler, 1940) consists of a simple blood test, and they analyse the blood sample for RA factor and a range of other afflictions to test positive for rheumatoid factor.
What happens is the patient’s blood is mixed with very small latex balls that are covered with healthy human antibodies; if the small latex balls group and clump together, then the test have found that the patient has tested positive for RA factor. Another way that a patient’s blood is measure for rheumatoid factor, is by mixing the blood with antibodies; again, if the blood binds together, RA factor is present. The way they further measure the seriousness of the RF factor, is by shining a light through the test tube; the less light passes through, the cloudier the sample is, and thus the higher levels of concentration of RA factor.
Ra Factor Testing Accuracy
Another interesting thing to note is that RA factor can be found in more than 80% of adults who have Rheumatoid arthritis. However, these levels are significantly lower when tested for in younger people. As the time of being infected with Rheumatoid arthritis increases, so does the RA factor. While the incidence of RA factor at 3 months is only a third, it increases to 75% after one year of having rheumatoid arthritis.
While the most common affliction to be tested positive for RA factor is rheumatoid arthritis, there are a number of other diseases that can also be tested positive for RA factor. These include:
- Sjorgren’s syndrome
- Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
These are some of the main diseases that can be tested positive for rheumatoid factor, but other less commonly know afflictions can be things such as Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Syphillics, Osteomyelitis, Sarcoidosis, Liver cirrhosis, Mononucleosis and Bacterial endocarditis.
Another important thing to note is the conditions that aren’t associated with RA factor, which are:
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Reiter’s Syndrome
RA factor is can be a major source of pain, and discomfort in anyone’s life; get to a rheumatologist if you experience any of the symptoms. The sooner you have a rheumatoid factor test and get it checked out, the less the chances that ra factor could cause major trauma in YOUR life. If you do test positive for the ra factor, there are effective treatments for rheumatoid arthritis available.