William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
- Rheumatoid factor facts
- What is rheumatoid factor?
- For what is the rheumatoid factor test used?
- Can rheumatoid factor be present in a patient without rheumatoid arthritis?
- What significance does the rheumatoid factor hold for patients with rheumatoid arthritis?
- Patient Comments: Rheumatoid Factor - Testing
Rheumatoid factor facts
- Rheumatoid factor is an antibody that is detectable in the blood of 80% of adults with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Rheumatoid can be detected in the blood of normal individuals and of those with other autoimmune diseases that are not rheumatoid arthritis.
- In people with rheumatoid arthritis, high levels of rheumatoid factor can indicate a tendency toward more aggressive disease and/or a tendency to develop rheumatoid nodules and rheumatoid lung disease.
What is rheumatoid factor?
Rheumatoid factor is an antibody that is measurable in the blood. Rheumatoid factor is actually an antibody that can bind to other antibodies. Antibodies are normal proteins in our blood that are important parts of our immune system. Rheumatoid factor is an antibody that is not usually present in the normal individual.
For what is the rheumatoid factor test used?
Rheumatoid factor is commonly used as a blood test for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid factor is present in about 80% of adults (but a much lower proportion of children) with rheumatoid arthritis.
Can rheumatoid factor be present in a patient without rheumatoid arthritis?
Yes. Rheumatoid factor is also present in patients with other conditions, including other connective tissue diseases (such as systemic lupus erythematosus), some infectious diseases (such as infectious hepatitis, syphilis, infectious mononucleosis, parasites, and tuberculosis), liver disease, and sarcoidosis. Rheumatoid factor can also sometimes be present in normal individuals without diseases. This occurs more frequently in people with family members who have rheumatoid arthritis.
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