High Antibody Levels & RA
Raised antibody levels have been linked to greater long term odds of rheumatoid arthritis. In particular, women in their 50s and 60s who smoke appear to be at the greatest risk (in case you needed one more reason to kick the habit).These findings, published in the British Medical Journal by a team of Danish researchers, suggest that even if you're not experiencing symptoms such as pain or swelling of the joints, a blood test that is positive for the "rheumatoid factor" may signal the need for a referral for an examination.
Rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic inflammatory joint disorder, strikes women three times more often than men. The authors say that although their study does not definitively prove that the rheumatoid factor plays a causal role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis, they believe their findings “may lead to revision of guidelines for early referral to a rheumatologist and early arthritis clinics based on a positive rheumatoid factor test – even in the absence of the typical arthritic joint symptoms.”