London: Researchers have found that men and women with raised levels of an antibody known as rheumatoid factor in their blood have up to a 26-fold greater long term risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.These findings suggest the need for early referral for examination after a positive rheumatoid factor test – even in the absence of typical arthritic symptoms like pain and swelling in the joints, the researchers said.Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint disorder that affects around 1 percent of the world’s population - women three times more often than men.No blood test can definitively diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, but a positive rheumatoid factor test can indicate the condition. However, it is not clear whether high levels of this antibody in people without rheumatoid arthritis is associated with later development of the condition.So a team of researchers based in Denmark set out to test whether raised levels of rheumatoid factor is associated with long term development of rheumatoid arthritis.
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