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Rheumatoid marker in Blood before Hep C diagnosis
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Rheumatoid marker in Blood before Hep C diagnosis

Will rheumatoid marker show up in blood before a Hep C diagnosis.  If I was exposed to the virus - it has been just over 1 year.  3 months ago, a blood test was done because I keep waking up with very sore ankles.  The rheumatoid marker came back - I was not tested for Hep C (they were specificially looking for thyroid problems, as my mother has thyroid problems).  I have no other noticable symptoms that I could attribute to Hep C.  I get tired now and then and lately I have been very thirsty, but that could be just thirst and exhaustion from the summer.... Very scared.  Does Rheumatoid marker show up early or late in Hep C?  I am,of course, going to get tested - but needing some reassurance in the meantime
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1815939_tn?1377995399
It is understandable that you are very scared and worried. Most people are frightened when they get any positive test back. Keep in mind that the RF test result could be a false positive. That does happen.

Also, you don't even know for sure if the person you were exposed to has Hep C. I know that won't stop the worrying or fear, but you may be worried about having Hep C and you may never have been exposed to it. The sooner you get the Hep C test, the better, since you are so worried. It will not take long to get the Hep C results back and then you will know for sure.

Again, best of luck.
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Avatar_m_tn
RF(rheumatoid factor) TSH(thyroid ) and  HCV tests are all exclusive of each other.

If you feel you may have HCV ..get a simple HCV test..
Will
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1815939_tn?1377995399
Not everyone with Hepatitis C has a positive Rheumatoid Factor. Not everyone with a positive Rheumatoid Factor has Hep C.

However, some people with Hep C do have a positive RF and Hep C can cause rheumatoid like symproms (which is not true rheumatoid artheritis).

Here is a link to an article that explains more about Hep C and the other problems it can cause (besides liver problems).

http://www.hcvadvocate.org/hcsp/articles/bonkovsky-2.html

RHEUMATOLOGIC and AUTOIMMUNE MANIFESTATIONS
"Myalgia (muscle pains), fatigue and arthralgias (joint pains) are common manifestations of HCV infection. HCV-related arthritis commonly presents as symmetrical inflammatory arthritis involving small joints. The joints involved in HCV-related arthritis are similar to rheumatoid arthritis (RA). This sometimes makes it difficult to differentiate true RA from HCV patients with positive rheumatoid factor but without RA. HCV-related arthritis is usually non-deforming and there are no bony erosions in the joints. A marker called anti-keratin antibodies has been studied to differentiate true RA from HCV related arthritis. In a recent study, 71 patients who were rheumatoid factor positive were tested for anti-keratin antibodies. Anti-keratin antibodies were detected in 20/33 (60.6%) patients with true RA and only 2/25 (8%) patients with HCV-related arthritis (10). Patients with HCV-related arthritis seldom respond to anti-inflammatory medications, and although there are no controlled trials to address this issue, it has been recommended to treat these patients with combination antiviral therapy of interferon and ribavirin (11)."

The bottom line is, there is no way to know if you have Hepatitis C until you are tested for it. Hep C really has few symptoms and in many/most people no symptoms until it is advanced. So you need to get tested. The test will tell you if you ave Hep C or do not have Hep C. Then you can tackle whatever the problem is that is causing the positive RF.

Best of luck.






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Avatar_f_tn
I'm new, too, and am curious as to what prompted your question of "Does Rheumatoid marker show up early or late in Hep C?"

Does your question imply that a Rheumatoid marker always shows up in Hep C? Not sure of what that means. On the lab report is it listed as "RF" and how is it reported (i.e., as negative/positive, by a number)?

Does this have to do with autoimmune issues?

Thanks.
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Avatar_f_tn
I guess we posted simultaneously. Thanks.
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Avatar_m_tn
I dont know what is going on.  I had a routine blood test to look for something else (thyroid disease because of my sore feet and the fact my Mum has thyroid disease).  The "Rhuematoid marker" came back - and I dont really know what that means.  I have a Dr appt in 3 hours - and I will get a blood test for Hep C.  But theres not much more I can do except worry
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1815939_tn?1377995399
Here is a site with good information about the Rheumatoid Factor:

http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/rheumatoid/tab/test

The following is only one paragraph from the article:

"Positive RF test results may also be seen in healthy people and in people with conditions such as: endocarditis; systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus); tuberculosis; syphilis; sarcoidosis; cancer; viral infection; or disease of the liver, lung, or kidney. The RF test is not used to diagnose or monitor these other conditions."





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1815939_tn?1377995399
Hopefully you saw my most recent post about RF. The site (that I linked to) is informative and easy to understand.

http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/rheumatoid/tab/test

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Avatar_m_tn
thank you to everyone who has posted.  I cant say what I have.  Im only 30 - and the fact that this marker came up in my blood is scary.
I have been exposed to someone with Hep C - or should I say - I have been exposed to someone who I suspected had Hep C and there is a chance I could have contracted it.  I cant be sure.  

I told my partner.  He wasnt very happy... He is furious with me.  Im scared.  Very very scared.  
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1815939_tn?1377995399
It is understandable that you are very scared and worried. Most people are frightened when they get any positive test back. Keep in mind that the RF test result could be a false positive. That does happen.

Also, you don't even know for sure if the person you were exposed to has Hep C. I know that won't stop the worrying or fear, but you may be worried about having Hep C and you may never have been exposed to it. The sooner you get the Hep C test, the better, since you are so worried. It will not take long to get the Hep C results back and then you will know for sure.

Again, best of luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
I understand your fear and anxiety, and the less one knows the worse it is. Sometimes looking around online makes it even worse.
Hopefully you will have some definitive results soon in conjunction with a good conversation with your doctor. At age 61 I can tell you I have had some test results over the years that scared the heck out of me and in the long run turned out to be not much of anything. You are also lucky to be living in an age when so many medical treatments can handle so much of what they could not 50 years ago, or even 5 years ago.
Keep us posted, I'll be thinking of you.
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Avatar_m_tn
Another question:  Can symptoms not show for one year, then appear? Like, tiredness, thirst?
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Avatar_m_tn
Or does it have to be a number of symptoms all at once?

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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for the good info. Any info on ANA? I believe that shows inflammation or something like an autoimmune response and is normally elevated with the RF? Just curious as I have had a high ANA, but no elevated RF, along with the low platelets and it was once suggested I was attacking my own platelets. Now I wonder if it was really indicative of HCV which I now know I have?
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Avatar_m_tn
I cant answer that specifically.  I was tested for "Auto Immune" markers (and again Im not 100% sure so dont quote me).

My Mother has Grave's Disease - Hyperthyroid.  She is very ill.  I was waking up with very very sore feet in the morning, so my Doctor also sent me for a load of blood work.  As far as I understand, the 'rheumatoid marker' has  something to do with the Auto-Immune system, which is what I was tested for.  Grave's Disease is an Auto-Immune disease.  

I am concerned because I have no clear-cut symptoms of Hep C.  But I did have this marker come back in my blood work.  And I do not have Grave's disease - but this does not rule out any other disease, like Rheumatoid Arthritis ... or Hep C.
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1815939_tn?1377995399
Here is a link to info on ANA:

http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ana/tab/test

and a link to a related test, ENA panel:

http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ena-panel/tab/test

If the ANA test is positive, they will order the ENA because the ENA can identify specific diseases whereas the ANA is more general.
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1815939_tn?1377995399
"Another question:  Can symptoms not show for one year, then appear? Like, tiredness, thirst? "
-------------------------------------------
If you mean symptoms of Hep C, most people do not have noticeable symptoms from chronic Hep C for years.

Here is a link to an informative page:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001329/


The following is just one part of the information on that page:

"Symptoms"

"Most people who were recently infected with hepatitis C do not have symptoms. About 1 in 10 have yellowing of the skin (jaundice) that gets better.

Of people who get infected with hepatitis C, most develop a long-term (chronic) infection. Usually there are no symptoms. If the infection has been present for many years, the liver may be permanently scarred. This is called cirrhosis. In many cases, there may be no symptoms of the disease until cirrhosis has developed.

The following symptoms could occur with hepatitis C infection:

Abdominal pain (right upper abdomen)

Abdominal swelling (due to fluid called ascites)

Clay-colored or pale stools

Dark urine

Fatigue

Fever

Itching

Jaundice

Loss of appetite

Nausea

Vomiting"

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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for another good source of info, Pooh. I found the info related to my question.

"A number of drugs and some infections (such as chronic non-viral hepatitis, primary biliary cirrhosis) as well as other conditions mentioned above can give a false positive result for the ANA test."
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Avatar_m_tn
UPDATE:  Went to Doctor.  Got blood tests.   Going tomorrow.  He kinda made me feel better, explaining that it is "unlikely but not 100% ruled out" that I might be infected.  
Again a big thank you to everyone who posted!
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm glad to know you feel a little better. Hang in there!
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