Rheumatoid factor (RF) is an antibody that is produced by the immune system in response to inflammation. Elevated levels of RF can be a sign of autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other connective tissue diseases. Here are some reasons why you may need to have this test:
To help diagnose RA: RF is a key marker used in the diagnosis of RA, along with other diagnostic tools such as imaging tests, physical examination, and medical history.
To monitor disease progression: RF levels can help monitor disease progression in RA and other autoimmune diseases.
To evaluate response to treatment: RF levels can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment for RA and other autoimmune diseases.
To diagnose other autoimmune or infectious diseases: Elevated RF levels can be seen in other autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), as well as certain infections, such as hepatitis C.
It’s important to discuss the results of your RF test with your healthcare provider to determine if any additional testing or treatment is needed. Not all healthcare providers routinely test for RF, so it’s important to discuss the test with your provider if you have concerns about RA or other autoimmune or infectious diseases.