Arthritis is a disease that affects the joints and involves inflammation or degeneration of the joints. There are more than 100 kinds of joint conditions. The most common types of arthritis may include rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile arthritis (JA), gout, and psoriatic arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis or RA is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just the joints. Unlike osteoarthritis, RA affects the lining of the joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity. Every year, out of every 100,000 people, 71 are diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Women are about 2 to 3 times more likely to get RA when compared to men.
This article covers all the significant topics related to rheumatoid arthritis such as the test cost, causes & symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, risk factors, and how to get tested for a rheumatoid arthritis test.
- What is rheumatoid arthritis?
- Causes of rheumatoid arthritis
- Risk factors
- Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
- Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis
- Blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis
- Imaging tests
- Rheumatoid arthritis treatment
- Provider locations
How much do the rheumatoid arthritis tests cost?
Rheumatoid arthritis test costs range from $39 to $99 in different labs and facilities across the US. Prior appointment isn’t required. You can order tests online by comparing the price or visiting the nearest lab during lab business hours. You will get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days after completing the procedure. Apart from this, doctor consultation is available for any kind of further treatment or medical advice.
The table below shows the rheumatoid arthritis test provider and their prices. You can know more and book the test by clicking on the “Book Now” button. All the labs are CLIA-certified and offer a network across the US.
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Rheumatoid arthritis test cost with insurance
Many insurance companies in the U.S. cover all the vital blood tests like rheumatoid arthritis tests. However, the coverage provided by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare varies widely. So, you are recommended to check if your health insurance policy covers the rheumatoid arthritis test cost.
Our rheumatoid arthritis testing providers do not accept any kind of health insurance policy. However, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details viz the name of the test, code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
RA or rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease, occurs when the immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation in the affected parts of the body. Rheumatoid arthritis mainly attacks the joints, many joints at once. And frequently affects joints in the wrists, hands, and knees. The joints may get red, swollen, and painful. Over time, it can affect other body parts and systems, such as the eyes, heart, lungs skin blood vessels, and more. And can also affect other tissues throughout the body. When RA affects joints, it affects both sides of the body, like both hands, wrists, or both knees. New types of medications have improved treatment options however, severe rheumatoid arthritis can still cause physical disabilities.
Generally, RA starts between the ages of 30-60 in women and a bit later in life in men. The lifetime risk of developing this disease for US adults is 3.6% for women and 1.7% for men. Rheumatoid arthritis can present at any age, even small children can develop it. According to the American College of Rheumatology, about 1.3 million Americans have rheumatoid arthritis and it is estimated three-fourths of them are women.
Causes of rheumatoid arthritis
The exact cause of RA is not known. Usually, the immune system helps protect the body from infection and disease. But for people who have rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks healthy tissue in the joints and causes medical problems with the heart, lungs, nerves, eyes, and skin. However, rheumatoid arthritis is believed to be caused by a combination of some factors, which include, genetics (heredity), abnormal immunity, environment, and hormones. Although the genes do not cause rheumatoid arthritis, they can make you react to environmental factors like infection with certain viruses and bacteria that may trigger the disease. And certain genetic patterns make a few people more likely to get rheumatoid arthritis than others.
- Age – RA can develop at any age, but the likelihood increases with age. According to CDC, it is most likely to arise when a person is in their 60s.
- Sex – RA is two to three times more common in women than in men.
- Smoking – Cigarette smoking increases the risk of developing RA, especially when a person has a genetic predisposition for developing the disease.
- Family history – One may have an increased risk of this disease when a member of their family has rheumatoid arthritis.
- History of live births – A woman who has never given birth may also be at higher risk of RA.
- Obesity – According to some studies, the more overweight a person is, the higher his/her risk of developing RA.
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
RA affects everyone differently. For a few, joint symptoms happen over several years. And in others, it may develop quickly. Some may have RA for a short time and then go into remission.
- Joint pain
- Loss of joint function and deformities
- Swelling and tenderness (more than one joint)
- Weight loss
- Stiffness in the morning (for 30 minutes or more)
- Occasional fever
- Loss of appetite
- Dry eyes and mouth
- Firm lumps beneath the skin
Early RA tends to affect the smaller joints first, especially the joints that attach your fingers to your hands and your toes to your feet. When the disease progresses, symptoms may spread to the wrists, knees, ankles, elbows, hips, and shoulders. Nearly 40% of people who have RA also experience symptoms that don’t involve the joints. This includes skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, salivary glands, nerve tissue, bone marrow, and blood vessels.
- Rheumatoid nodules – These are the bumps and lumps that can form anywhere in the body, including the heart and lungs when you have rheumatoid arthritis.
- Eye Complications – RA can affect your eyes in several ways. People with RA are much more likely to develop Sjogren’s syndrome, which happens when the immune system attacks the glands that make tears. And can make your eyes feel gritty and dry. If left untreated, eye dryness can cause infection and scarring of the conjunctiva.
- Infections – It is possible to get more infections when you have RA. It can be from the condition or from the immune-suppressing medicine that treats it. So, it is essential to protect yourself with vaccinations to prevent diseases like COVID-19, influenza, and pneumonia.
- Heart and Blood Vessel Disease – Rheumatoid nodules can form on the heart, which affects the way it works. Inflammation of the heart muscle is called myocarditis (a rare complication). RA can make a person more likely to get a cardiovascular disease and raises the risk of stroke.
- Lung disease – People with RA are at higher risk of inflammation and scarring of the lung tissues. It can lead to progressive shortness of breath.
- Osteoporosis – Rheumatoid arthritis along with some medications used for treatment can increase your risk of osteoporosis. This is a condition that weakens the bones and makes them more prone to fracture.
- Diabetes – Some research shows that rheumatoid arthritis raises the risk for diabetes by about 50%.
- Lymphoma – RA increases the risk of lymphoma. This is a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymph system.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome – When RA affects the wrists, the inflammation can compress the nerve which serves most of the hands and the fingers.
Rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis
Rheumatoid arthritis can be diagnosed by evaluating the symptoms, conducting a physical examination, and doing X-rays and lab tests. During a physical exam, a doctor will look for swelling and redness, examine the joint function, and test the reflexes and muscle strength. When they suspect RA, they will most likely refer you to a specialist called a rheumatologist. As no single test can confirm a diagnosis of RA, the healthcare provider or the rheumatologist may use different types of tests.
Blood tests for rheumatoid arthritis
- Rheumatoid factor test (RF) –This test checks for a protein called the rheumatoid factor. High levels of RF are associated with autoimmune diseases, especially RA.
- Anticitrullinated protein antibody test (anti-CCP) – The anti-CCP Ab is more specific for rheumatoid arthritis than the RF test. This test checks for an antibody that is associated with RA. Usually, people who have this antibody have the disease. But, not every person with RA tests positive for this antibody.
- Antinuclear antibody test (ANA) – Antinuclear antibody panel tests the immune system to see if it’s producing antibodies. As a response to many different types of conditions, including RA the body may make antibodies.
- Complete blood count – This helps the doctor to find anemia, which is common in RA. It looks for white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets.
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) – This test helps to determine the degree of inflammation in the body. Not intended to indicate the cause of the inflammation.
- C-reactive protein test – A severe infection or inflammation anywhere in the body can trigger the liver to make C-reactive protein. High levels are associated with RA.
- X-rays – Helps to track the progression of RA in the joints over time.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound – Gives a more detailed picture of the joints and helps the doctor judge the severity of the disease in the body. Normally, these scans are not used to diagnose RA, yet they can help doctors find it early.
Rheumatoid arthritis treatment
A variety of medications are available to treat RA symptoms. The primary goal of most current rheumatoid arthritis treatments is to force the disease into remission. Although there is no cure for RA, early treatment with medications called disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), may be successful in pushing RA symptoms into remission. Treatment includes medications, physical therapy, and exercise. And some people need surgery to correct joint damage.
The over-the-counter medications help reduce inflammation and pain during RA flares. It includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and acetaminophen.
Certain drugs work to slow the damage that RA can cause to the body, it may include:
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) – This works by blocking the body’s immune system response and helps to slow down the progression of RA.
- Biologics – New-generation biologic DMARDs provide a targeted response to inflammation rather than blocking the body’s entire immune system response. For people who don’t respond to more traditional DMARDs, this can be an effective treatment.
- Janus kinase (JAK) inhibitors – This new subcategory of DMARDs block certain immune responses. The healthcare provider uses these drugs to prevent inflammation and stop damage to joints when DMARDs and biologic DMARDs don’t work.
Although there is no way to prevent RA, certain steps can lower your chances. It may include:
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol
- Getting physical activity
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Improve oral health
- Increase fish intake
- Stay active
- Reduce exposure to environmental pollutants
Rheumatoid arthritis tests can be done in any of the following locations by visiting the lab near you. To know the rheumatoid arthritis test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
Will insurance cover my testing cost?
No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you with a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.
How should I book my appointment?
You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.
Can I cancel my lab test order?
Yes, you can cancel your lab test order any time before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.
Do the providers offer result interpretations?
Yes, a few providers may provide doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.
How do I receive my report?
To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.
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