High levels of auto-antibodies called rheumatoid factors (RF) indicate the presence of autoimmune disease. Rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome and occasionally other autoimmune diseases cause a high RF count.
Target RF quantitative levels are measured in titers or units: 1:20 to 1:80 titers, and 14 to 60 u/ML represent normal RF levels. Lower RF levels rule out the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome.
According to Quest Diagnostic website, the primary cause of a high RF result is rheumatoid arthritis. The doctor will order follow-up blood work to confirm or rule out the diagnosis.
Extremely high RF results indicate Sjogren’s syndrome. Symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome include dry eyes and reduced saliva production. Sjogren’s syndrome is a symptom of more serious diseases such as lupus.
Autoimmune diseases can cause a high RF lab result. These diseases include hepatitis C, AIDS and mononucleosis.
Your doctor will requests blood tests to diagnose or exclude rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome. A test for anti-nuclear antibodies, along with a complete blood count (CBC), can confirm rheumatoid arthritis. Sjogren’s syndrome diagnosis is confirmed with a CBC, X-ray of the salivary glands, and ocular examination.