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Symptom Checker

Step 4: Read and complete the decision guide to learn more about your symptoms.

Positive Rheumatoid Factor

That's good news! It means that true arthritis is less likely (although swelling is rarely seen in certain joints, such as the shoulder, hip or spinal joints--you could still have arthritis in them without seeing any swelling).

Your symptoms could be an indication of fibromyalgia, a viral infection, thyroid disease, an elevated calcium level in the blood (called hypercalcemia), or some other condition that will resolve on its own. None of these are strongly associated with a positive RF so your result could be a "false-positive" (abnormal even in the absence of an abnormal condition).

Rheumatoid arthritis is less likely because there is usually swelling in joints that are easy to see (for example in the hands and wrists) and there are multiple joints involved, typically six or more.

Unless your symptoms resolve soon, contact your doctor for evaluation. Early diagnosis and treatment are important, not only to get you feeling better but to prevent complications of the condition causing your joint symptoms and positive RF.

Would you like more information about the rheumatoid factor and various forms of arthritis?

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