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    please help .. still learning
    sfonseca7 posted:
    When your body is ravished with pain all that's on your mind is STOP THE PAIN but after the flare-up is over the questions come. I need to understand the blood lab work. How many RA blood test are there and what are they called? Sometimes I need validation of my pain in seeing high number but those numbers are not always as high as my degree of pain. When this happens I feel maybe I'm just weak!
    Anon_169479 responded:
    sfonseca7 , while you report symptoms, doctors look for signs. Blood tests offer clues, but doctors' decisions are based on clinical experience and knowledge.

    Most especially, there are no blood tests to validate pain.

    The tests to measure inflammation are ESR and CRP. Even with obvious swelling, the tests may not show high values. While the tests can indicate inflammation, they do not indicate the cause. You can have inflammation without pain, and pain without positive inflammatory markers.

    The tests used to identify rheumatoid disease are rheumatoid factor and anti-ccp. You can show signs and report symptoms and be diagnosed with rheumatoid disease even if the blood tests are negative, They are just not that sensitive. Even though it is called "rheumatoid factor," this biomarker is not always found in people diagnosed with rheumatoid disease, and it can be found in people with other diseases. While anti-ccp is about as sensitive as rheumatoid factor, it is very specific for rheumatoid disease when it is strongly positive.

    If all these blood tests are positive, the doctor can say with certainty that your rheumatoid disease is acting up. However, you can feel terrible, and all the blood tests can be negative.

    There are other tests, but they don't say how you feel, either. Only you can do that, and the challenge is learning to validate your experience and advocate for yourself.
    sfonseca7 replied to Anon_169479's response:
    Thank you so much for your reply. With the last flare of RA the pain & swelling made it difficult to sit, stand, walk or sleep. It is the memory of that uncomfortable time that has pushed me in the direction of self help through diet and activity (nothing is to little). After reading your reply I feel better about myself and will never let anything stand in the way of moving forward. Thank you for answering questions about lab tests.

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