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Bethany from Olds asks: My grandmother died from Scleroderma complications at 48 in 1970. I have exhibited many symptoms of Scleroderma for years, and they have all become worse in the last six months. All the general blood tests my GP has access to have come back negative but is still going to refer me to a Rheumatologist. What are the chances I could have Scleroderma even though all my blood work was fine?
Like many rheumatic conditions, a diagnosis of Scleroderma is not always made based on lab tests. A good history and physical examination by a scleroderma specialist – usually a rheumatologist – combined with appropriate investigations, will help lead to the correct diagnosis and treatment plan. While there are a number of blood tests that can be associated with scleroderma, it is possible for them to be negative and still have the condition.
Alyssa from Edmonton asks: What type of inflammatory arthritis occurs in multiple joints and yet shows negative on blood tests for the RA factor?
In many cases, inflammatory arthritis is a clinical diagnosis, meaning it can be diagnosed by listening to the patient’s story and performing an appropriate physical examination. Rheumatoid arthritis can be associated with a number of positive blood tests, including a rheumatoid factor or anti-CCP-antibody, but a negative test does not exclude the diagnosis. Other forms of inflammatory arthritis that usually have negative blood tests include psoriatic arthritis, enteropathic arthritis, and reactive arthritis.
Julia from Edmonton asks: What tests are done to confirm RA? Is it possible to have normal blood labs and still have this disease?
There is no test that confirms a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. Your story and an appropriate physical exam by your rheumatologist is the best way to make a diagnosis. To answer your question, it is very possible and common to have completely normal blood tests and still have rheumatoid arthritis.