Rheumatoid arthritis, also known as the ‘wear and tear disease’, is one of the most common types of arthritis. On the rise in recent times, not only has the ailment doubled since the middle of the last century, but it is also relatively common in young women across the globe. Primarily an auto-immune condition, in this ailment, the body's immune system attacks its tissues and joints and sometimes even internal organs causing severe pain and mild or chronic inflammation. When the cartilage that provides cushioning to the joints wears away, the bones rub against each other causing swelling along with stiffness. Painful joints and limited mobility affect a person’s physical health as well as emotional wellbeing.
Besides the biggest trouble is diagnosing rheumatoid arthritis, more often when it is in its early stages. Predicting the symptoms of this anomaly is tricky as one day they may get better but may worsen the very next day. To help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis, a CCP antibody test is advised by the physician. It is often done along with or after a rheumatoid factor test (another type of autoantibody or proteins produced by the immune system). While RF factors can be found in otherwise healthy people or people with other autoimmune diseases, CCP antibodies provide an accurate diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis as compared to RF testing.
What Is A CCP Antibody Test?
The CCP antibody test looks for cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies or CCP in the blood. Also called anti-CCP antibodies, these are a type of antibodies or proteins made by the immune system just like the RF factor. Antibodies play an essential role in protecting the body against many diseases by fighting unwanted elements, viruses, and bacteria. However, sometimes by mistake, these antibodies attack the body's healthy tissues present in the joints. When CCP antibodies are found in the bloodstream, it is a sign of rheumatoid arthritis. Patients who do not have the disease will not have any traces of CCP in their bloodstream.
Why Do I Need A CCP Antibody Test?
With a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain issues in recent decades, more humans are at risk for various kinds of bone and joint problems leading to arthritis. When other tests such as the RF factor do not rule out a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, a CCP antibody test is advised by the doctor. It is done when the patient displays the following symptoms:
- Pain in the joints
- Stiffness in the joints which occurs mostly in the morning
- Redness accompanied by mild or severe swelling
- Mild or chronic fatigue
- A low-grade fever on some days
- Random or recurring pain
During The Test And Results Of CCP Antibody
A small amount of blood sample is taken from a vein using a small needle and collected into a vial. The test is just like a normal blood test and does not take beyond five minutes. It is very important to inform your health care provider about all medicines, and supplements if any are being taken. The doctor may restrict you from taking certain medications eight hours before the test. There is very little risk in this blood test with just slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was inserted. Test results are a combination of a rheumatoid factor (RF) test, a physical exam along with a CCP antibody test. If you have symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, the results will be as follows:
- Positive CCP antibodies and positive RF most likely imply that you have rheumatoid arthritis
- Positive CCP antibodies but a negative RF may imply a primary stage of rheumatoid arthritis or chances of it getting developed in the future
- Negative CCP antibodies and negative RF implies that the chances of the person having rheumatoid arthritis are remote. But if the symptoms do not decline, the physician may conduct more tests to diagnose the cause of the symptoms. Apart from CCP antibody and RF tests a joint Xray, Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, synovial fluid analysis, C-reactive protein, and antinuclear antibody may be recommended
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Also Read: Septic Arthritis: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment
Frequently Asked Questions
Are There Any Risks Of CCP Antibody Test?
Every test which needs a blood sample carries some risks such as infection, bleeding, or bruising. Mild pain when the needle pricks the arm and soreness can happen though it goes away quickly in most patients. Overall, the risk level is very low.
Are There Any Prerequisites For The Anti-CCP Test?
No, there are no prerequisites when taking the CCP antibody test. Fasting is not required before the test. But the physician must be informed about all, vitamins, supplements, and any medications that are being taken. You may be asked to stop taking them eight hours before the test.
Is The anti-CCP Test Result Accurate?
CCP antibodies provide a better and more accurate diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis compared to RF testing. As per the data, the anti-CCP test has a specificity of about 85%. However, sometimes there can be false-positive cases with the test having a false rate of 12 %. But generally, this test is considered accurate.
Can Early Detection Help Cure Rheumatoid Arthritis?
There is no permanent cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but an early diagnosis can help in prompt treatment and in managing the disease, eventually letting the patient lead a pain-free life.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a progressive, autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the joints. While managing daily activities becomes a challenge as the disease progresses, getting it diagnosed is even more difficult. A CCP antibody test is recommended by the medical practitioner after other routine blood tests and RF factor tests do not confirm but the symptoms persist. If CCP antibody results are positive, the antibodies were found in the blood, which means the patient has rheumatoid arthritis. A negative result means the absence of CCP antibodies which most likely confirms a negative rheumatoid. Doctors advise further testing if the patient complains of ongoing pain and symptoms.