Five Laboratory Changes in Rheumatology

Five Laboratory Changes To See a Rheumatologist


When you’re not feeling your best and visit a doctor, you might find yourself undergoing laboratory testing. Sometimes, these tests can reveal changes that require further evaluation from a specialist, such as a rheumatologist. In this article, we’ll explore five common laboratory changes that may prompt a referral to a rheumatologist. Understanding these tests can help ease anxiety and provide clarity on your health journey.

When Do You Need Laboratory Testing?

  • You feel unwell.
  • You visit your doctor, describe your symptoms, and undergo a physical exam.
  • Your doctor recommends blood work to investigate further.

It’s at this point that many individuals turn to “Dr. Google” for answers. While it’s natural to seek information, relying solely on online sources can lead to confusion and heightened stress.

Should You Consult “Dr. Google”?

We strongly recommend pausing before delving into online research. While it might be tempting to interpret your test results, this approach can often result in unnecessary anxiety and confusion. Instead, let’s explore the five common laboratory changes that might lead to a rheumatologist referral:

1. Positive ANA (Antinuclear Antibody)

  • This test screens for possible autoimmune diseases.
  • A positive ANA doesn’t equate to an autoimmune disease diagnosis.
  • A rheumatologist’s role is to conduct further evaluation and provide insights.

2. Elevated Markers of Inflammation (Sedimentation Rate and C-Reactive Protein)

  • These tests assess inflammation in your body.
  • Elevated levels can be due to various conditions, including infection, autoimmune diseases, or malignancies.
  • If there are no signs of infection, consulting a rheumatologist is advisable.

3. Elevated Rheumatoid Factor

  • Ordered when rheumatoid arthritis is suspected.
  • Diagnosis involves considering multiple factors, including symptoms and other test results.
  • A positive result isn’t a definitive diagnosis on its own.

4. Elevated Muscle Enzymes

  • Ordered when muscle pain is a concern.
  • Elevated levels can indicate muscle disease, which may result from inflammation or certain medications.

5. Positive ANCA (Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibodies) Antibodies

Understanding Your Health Journey

You now have a better grasp of these common lab tests and their potential significance. If any of these tests align with your symptoms, consider scheduling an appointment with our doctor. Together, we can embark on a journey toward a clearer understanding of your health and a path to a better life. Don’t let uncertainty stand in your way—take the first step today.


What laboratory tests will take you to a rheumatologist?
Elevated muscle enzymes, positive ANCA antibodies

About the authors

Diana Girnita, MD, PhD is an US board certified internal medicine and rheumatology. She completed a PhD in immunology, postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, immunology fellowship at University of Pittsburgh and rheumatology fellowship at University of Cincinnati. She is the founder&CEO of Rheumatologist OnCall, a telemedicine company that serves multiple states in the US. Dr. Girnita is a graduate of the Nutrition Science course from Stanford University. Dr. Girnita was recognized many times with “Top Doctor”  award (2017-2020) and is frequently invited speaker of the US National Arthritis Foundation. Read more (link to the ABOUT US PAGE)

Aurelia Turca – is a third year medical student from University of Medicine and Pharmacy, “Gr. T. Popa” Iasi, Romania. She enjoys researching and writing medical content. Aurelia is an avid learner and her passion is microsurgery techniques. Her hobbies are painting, writing, reading and walking.


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