A blood test called the sedimentation rate (sed rate) is a measure of how fast red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube. The sed rate is used as a crude measure of inflammation of the joints. The sed rate is usually faster from inflammation such as during disease flares and slower during remissions. Another blood test that is used to measure the degree of inflammation present in the body is the C-reactive protein. The rheumatoid factor, ANA, sed rate, and C-reactive protein tests can also be abnormal in other systemic autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Therefore, abnormalities in these blood tests alone are not sufficient for a firm diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis

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