New blood test can catch rheumatoid arthritis -

Rheumatoid arthritis blood test

Rheumatoid arthritis affects more than two million Americans, and it may be the most devastating form of joint disease.

The disease causes the body's immune system to attack the joint and everything around it. Without aggressive drug treatment, the disfiguring effects can happen fast.

The trouble is it's very difficult to diagnose early when it's easiest to treat. But now a new blood test is promising to change that. If it comes back positive, there's a good chance you have the disease.

There's a growing list of medications RA patients can take. Not only do they ease the swelling, stiffness and pain caused by the disease, but it halts the process that can leave a person's joints disfigured for life. 

So anytime you have swelling and aches and pains in your joints that just won't go away, don't blow it off. Not when there is a blood test that can help doctors stop an otherwise crippling disease in its tracks.

A side note: experts say there's evidence for a genetic link to rheumatoid arthritis — so if you have a family member with the disease, you may be at risk. So it's a good idea to get screened, even if you don't have any symptoms.

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