Posted by on February 26, 2019

Types of Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system starts attacking the body that leads to inflammation in joints, eyes, nerves, skin, and heart of a person. Even though doctors are not sure what causes rheumatoid arthritis, but research over the years has shown that genes and family history play important role in generating this disease. If you have a history of any family member or relative suffering from rheumatoid arthritis then you’re more likely to get it. Another reason that has come up for causing rheumatoid arthritis during research is a certain environmental condition such as smoking tobacco. Also, some infection or chemicals like tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1 can confuse the immune system and trigger it to start attacking the joints.

The mystery that surrounds the cause of rheumatoid arthritis makes it difficult to fully categorize the disease. It is important to understand different types of rheumatoid arthritis for a correct diagnosis, and only then the correct treatment can be started. There are different types of rheumatoid arthritis that people suffer from and they have different symptoms, and even though it is hard to categorize arthritis into different slots but here are some ways in which one can distinguish between different rheumatoid arthritis types.

One way to distinguish between different types of rheumatoid arthritis is by using the rheumatoid factor(RF). The type of rheumatoid arthritis is distinguished by the presence or absence of an autoantibody or protein produced by the body when it starts attacking the immune system. Studies show that 80% of patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis test positive for rheumatoid factor(RF).

  • Seropositive Rheumatoid Arthritis: A person is diagnosed with seropositive rheumatoid arthritis if they test positive for rheumatoid factor(RF). In seropositive rheumatoid arthritis, your body contains anti-cyclic citrullinated peptides(anti-CCPs), also known as anticitrullinated protein antibodies (ACPAs). These antibodies are solely created in your body to harm itself and trigger joint inflammation. According to recent research, 60-80% of people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis have anti-CCPs present in their bodies which makes them test positive for rheumatoid factor.
  • Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis: In seronegative rheumatoid arthritis, none of the aforementioned antibodies are present in the system of the patient. It is the exact opposite of seropositive rheumatoid arthritis. If a person tests negative for rheumatoid factor(RF) then a series of different laboratory tests and X-rays can be taken into account. Even if a person tests negative in RF, they still might have milder rheumatoid arthritis which is seronegative.  

  • Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis is another type of rheumatoid arthritis that affects the patients under the age of 17 years old. It is one of the most common types of arthritis found in this age group and patients might experience arthritis pain symptoms like swelling, stiffness, and joint pain. Just like other types of rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis also tested for RF and anti-CCPs tests. X-rays and other tests are also performed in order to assess any other health threats like bone fractures, infections or tumors.

The ambiguity surrounding the types of rheumatoid arthritis might create confusion but with the correct procedure, it can be diagnosed. Regardless of the type of RA, have yourself immediately checked by a doctor as soon as you find RA symptoms present in your body. To know more about the symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis check our blog.

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