Blood tests vs actual symptoms
In this episode, Clint discussed how blood markers do not necessarily reflect what’s happening inside the body. In such instances, physical exams and other assessments are crucial to getting a proper diagnosis of RA.
Shell said, “I read that some people can be symptomatic with low CRP and rheumatoid factor numbers. Do the numbers always correlate to the severity of one’s symptoms?”
This is a real quick one. Absolutely no. You can have someone who has high rheumatoid factor with no symptoms, so that could be someone who has yet to be diagnosed or yet to display any actual inflammation. But high rheumatoid factor is certainly a precursor to a likelihood of developing RA. You can have high rheumatoid factor and have no symptoms, but I want to say that’s a dangerous position to be in and that person should be definitely hitting that low-fat plant-based diet, exercising and improving their lifestyle before things show up more.
You can also have very low or normal c reactive protein and normal sed rate or ESR numbers and have symptoms.
So these blood markers are not necessarily reflective of what shows up physically in the body. And so that’s why for a diagnosis and assessments rheumatologist take into account the blood markers, but also a physical exam and often some x rays or an MRI. And they have to make a complete analysis based on a whole bunch of information.
So if you have symptoms but don’t have the blood markers, then you might want to use range of motion tests to monitor your improvements month to month. So just, you know how how much your elbows can bend or how much you can not close your fist, for example, as examples of whether you’re improving if your C reactive protein and sed rate are not going to be valuable tools for you if they don’t change, even if your symptoms are changing.
So our blood markers are usually helpful for a lot of people, but not always helpful. And certainly, there are situations wherein information in the blood markers does not reflect what’s happening in the body.