New Blood Test for Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Reported, January 18, 2012
PA (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Rheumatoid arthritis causes 1.3 million people to
cringe in pain every day. 75 % of those are women. There’s no cure, but early
diagnosis and treatment can keep people moving longer. Now there’s new way
doctors can detect it even before the pain sets in.
“I can’t remember a day that I don’t hurt,” Robyn Nichols told Ivanhoe.
For 30 year old Robyn Nicols, the pain started at just two and a half years old.
“These are just the prescriptions I take. 18 different prescriptions,” Robyn
And it’s getting worse.
“I’m terrified of falling, tripping and falling ‘cause i will just shatter,”
Rheumatoid arthritis or RA happens when the body’s own immune cells attack
healthy tissues, causing bone to painfully scrape against bone at the joint.
“The onset of RA can be explosive. People can go to bed feeling well one night,
and the next morning develop symptoms that can be very dramatic,” Mary Chester
Wasko, M.D., a rheumatologist, explained.
Symptoms include joint pain, swelling, stiffness, restricted range of motion and
extreme fatigue. The two main causes are genetic and environmental, but there is
another possible trigger.
“Smoking, believe it or not, is actually a risk factor for the development of
RA,” Marc Levesque, M.D., director of the rheumatoid arthritis center at the
University of Pittsburgh, said.
To diagnose it, doctors use a variety of tests and x-rays. But now, a new blood
test called anti CCP is giving doctors hope for early treatment.
“It turns out that many people with RA have a positive test years in advance of
getting the symptoms,” Dr. Levesque said.
The latest results show the blood test is correct 86% of the time. But, some
doctors argue the RA blood markers could be confused with markers for other
autoimmune diseases such as lupus, psoriasis or even a viral infection.