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When your doctor is trying to determine if you have arthritis, he/she will use your medical history, your symptoms and a series of arthritis blood tests to help determine if you have arthritis, which type you have and how severe it is.
Many types of arthritis blood tests are available and are helpful not only in diagnosing the condition, but in determining an effective course of treatment as well. Three of the most common tests are listed below.
Full blood count (FBC)– The FBC measures whether you have normal white blood cells and platelets, which the body uses to battle infection and form blood clots. Arthritis can cause minor deviations in the full blood count.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)- The ESR test determines the rate at which erythrocytes (red blood cells) fall to the bottom of a tube. Because inflammatory substances attach to red blood cell surfaces, faster falling cells indicate a higher degree of inflammation, and possibly, more severe arthritis. The maximum normal limit is 35 mm/hr for a 65-year-old woman. Very active inflammation can cause levels higher than 100 mm/hr.
Rheumatoid factor (RF)- Since this antibody can be present in people who do not have rheumatoid arthritis and is not always present in those who do, the RF test must be used in conjunction with other tests and findings.