Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks the lining of your joints, or synovial tissue. The cells in the tissue produce inflammatory chemicals that can damage the joint and surrounding tissue. This leads to:
a limited range of motion and function
RA is a chronic, or long-term disease. Early and aggressive treatment can help you manage your symptoms and prevent joint damage.
Seropositive RA means that blood tests will show that your body has created antibodies against proteins in your body. These proteins are called anticyclic citrullinated peptides (anti-CCPs). It’s estimated that 60 to 80 percent of people with RA have anti-CCPs. These antibodies develop before the symptoms of RA appear.
Seropositive used to mean that you tested positive for rheumatoid factor (RF). However, RF is a different antibody than anti-CCP.
People who have seronegative RA don’t have RF or anti-CCPs. It’s still possible to have RA without these antibodies, but this may make it more difficult for you to get a diagnosis.
Diagnosis and treatment within six weeks of experiencing symptoms can play a role in keeping your pain at bay. It may even make it more likely that your symptoms will go into remission. However, if treatment isn’t started or isn’t effective, the inflammation can permanently damage your joints. This can make it difficult for you to perform everyday activities.