PsA [Psoriatic arthritis] is an inflammatory condition that influences nearly 1/3rd of all people who already have psoriasis. Medical practitioners can usually make a preliminary diagnosis based on your medical history and conduct a physical exam. This can be done if you already show skin signs that are consistent with psoriasis. But, if skin symptoms are not present, your doctor might require extra blood tests and imaging (X-ray) to corroborate his/her diagnosis and also to discard other potential causes. Here are some typical blood tests that doctors make use of to validate a PsA diagnosis.
Identifying psoriatic arthritis can actually be a complex process. In certain cases, your doctor can initially perform a diagnosis based on your medical history and your physical exam. If you already have skin symptoms linked with psoriasis and if you are experiencing joint pain, then your odds of having PsA are comparatively high. However, diagnosing psoriatic arthritis isn’t simple all the time. Whilst PsA typically begins about a decade following psoriasis, it has been discovered to occur prior to the skin condition in nearly 15 percent of people. When this happens, your doctor might require taking some blood tests prior to making a PsA diagnosis.
RF (Rheumatoid Factor) Blood Test
The rheumatoid Factor is a type of protein which is otherwise called “autoantibody”. Since RF targets the healthy tissues of your body, higher levels of this substance in your blood often signify the existence of an autoimmune disease. As suggested by the name, an RF blood test is utilized to screen for RA [rheumatoid arthritis]. During this particular test, your medical examiner will draw some blood samples typically from your arm vein and dispatch them to the lab for testing. The technician will then check the rheumatoid factor levels in the blood.
Affirmative RF test results denote that the body is creating more rheumatoid factor antibodies than it typically would. In general, the typical range is around 0 and 15 IU/mL. A slight elevation in the 20s is not normally a cause for alarm. But, considerably higher rheumatoid factor results might reveal abnormal autoimmune activity. Whilst doctors regularly order RF blood tests to substantiate RA, the test may indicate other elevating diseases too, like cancer, SLE [systemic lupus erythematosus] Sjogren’s syndrome, and sarcoidosis.
If your medical practitioner believes you might have psoriatic arthritis, he/she will order a Rheumatoid Factor test to discard other conditions as the root cause of the symptoms that you are experiencing. People who have PsA generally do not possess higher RF levels.
Anti-CCP Blood Test
Just like the Rheumatoid Factor test, an anti-CCP [anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide] blood test is utilized to discard the existence of RA. Another autoantibody created by your immune system, anti-CCP is quite normally found in individuals with RA [rheumatoid arthritis]. Testing for anti-CCP might not find all cases of RA, however, those who get an affirmative result are likely to have this condition. Researchers imply that this particular test is around 90 percent specific. Less than one in ten people who obtain positive results do not actually possess rheumatoid arthritis. That being said, it is not an intensely sensitive test. Data shows that nearly 1/3rd of people have rheumatoid arthritis, despite getting a negative anti-CCP test. If your result is positive, it is likely that your signs are triggered by rheumatoid arthritis and not Psoriatic arthritis. If it shows negative, it is likely that your signs are because of Psoriatic arthritis.
ESR [Sedimentation Rate] Blood Test
Just like anti-CCP and RF tests, the ESR test [erythrocyte sedimentation rate] can be utilized to gauge the inflammatory activity in your body and corroborate the existence of some autoimmune conditions.
During this particular test, the blood sample will be put inside a thin and long tube. The red blood cells present in your sample will slowly go to the tube’s bottom within an hour. But, blood samples from individuals with inflammation often tend to descend faster. This happens because inflammation causes your blood cells to clatter. The further they fall, the more indicative that the test is of your autoimmune condition.
CRP [C-Reactive Protein] Blood Test
As the name suggests, this CRP test helps evaluate the concentration of CRP [C-reactive protein] in the blood. Whilst healthy people will often possess a certain amount of protein, the liver tends to create CRP as a result of inflammation. Individuals with inflammatory conditions or autoimmune conditions often show elevated CRP levels.
Whilst CRP can be on the higher side for several reasons, your doctor can utilize a CRP test to back a psoriatic arthritis diagnosis. Medical experts will utilize this test to examine the severity of an individual’s psoriasis and how effective their present treatments are. If the CRP levels of an individual fall, for instance, the results might be considered as an indicator that the inflammation of that particular individual is diminishing and their condition is improving.
Handling psoriatic arthritis can be quite challenging, particularly if you do not know anybody who shares the diagnosis. Finding a way for your treatment or tackling new complications can be taxing and isolating, however, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make use of the internet to connect with other fellow members and ask them for advice, build relationships and share tips too.