How Important is an Anti-CCP Test for Detecting Rheumatoid Arthritis?

How Important is an Anti-CCP Test for Detecting Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Bajaj Finserv Health
December 01, 20214 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • A CCP <a href="">blood test</a> is prescribed when you experience RA symptoms
  • During RA, your immune system develops antibodies to target its own cells
  • Normal anti-CCP values in an individual are less than 20 units/mL

The anti-CCP test aims to measure the level of your antibodies targeting specific proteins in your joints. Anti-CCP antibodies are anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies and are commonly found in patients having rheumatoid arthritis (RA) [1]. This condition is an auto-immune disorder that destroys joints in your body.

These antibodies attack those proteins in which amino acid arginine is converted to another amino acid citrulline. If you have RA, your citrulline levels may increase because of inflammation in the joints [2]. In a normal scenario, your immune system can tolerate these proteins. However, during RA, an immune response is formed that produces antibodies to destroy these citrullinated proteins.

Other conditions wherein anti-CCP antibodies can be detected are:

  • Hepatitis C
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Sjogren’s syndrome

To know more about this anti-CCP test or ACPA antibody test and how it can help to detect RA, read on.

Why is the CCP blood test prescribed?

Usually, RA affects your joints like elbows, shoulders, knees and hips. Doctors may recommend a CCP blood test if you experience the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling and pain in your joints
  • Stiffness in your joints when you wake up
  • Fever
  • Nodules beneath your skin
  • Unusual body discomfort

The presence of peptide antibodies in your blood confirms the presence of RA [3]. If you undergo this test, your doctor may also be able to assess the severity of your condition.

Additional read: World Osteoporosis Day 2021: How are Postmenopausal Women at Risk for Fractures?RA Symptoms

What is the significance of an anti-CCP blood test?

The main purpose of conducting this test is to differentiate RA from other types of arthritis. Your immune system is capable of protecting your body from harmful microorganisms. In some cases, your body gets confused and considers its own cells as foreign. This results in the formation of antibodies against your cells, which causes autoimmune disorders. Few examples of autoimmune conditions include:

  • Juvenile diabetes
  • Different type of arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Thyroid diseases
  • Pernicious anemia

In case of RA, the body produces antibodies against its own peptide proteins. Diagnosis of these anti-CCP antibodies in your blood helps in early treatment. These are found in your blood even before you start to show RA symptoms. However, even if symptoms subside, you may still test positive for RA. So, this test cannot be used to monitor RA progression as there may be fluctuations in levels of antibodies.

Additional read: 3 Crucial Thyroid Tests You Need to Know to Check Your Thyroid Hormone Levels

How is the test conducted?

It is necessary to inform the doctor if you are taking any medications or supplements. If needed, you may be asked to stop having them before you take the test. There is absolutely no need to fast and you can drink and eat as normal. A blood sample will be extracted from your arm with the help of a small needle. This sample is collected in a small test tube.

The whole procedure is over within 5 minutes. You may feel a slight stinging sensation when your vein is being pricked. After the needle is pulled out, a small cotton ball is placed on the spot. Apply pressure on it in order to stop any bleeding. The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for further evaluation.

You can also take another kind of instant fingerstick test, which gives results within 10 minutes.

How are the results interpreted?

A positive result implies the presence of antibodies in your blood, while a negative result indicates their absence. The normal value of these antibodies in your blood should be less than 20 units/mL. If your value exceeds this normal value, it means you are positive. This test is usually done with a rheumatoid factor (RF) test. Doctors interpret the test results in the following ways.

  • If both anti-CCP and RF tests are positive, you have RA
  • If anti-CCP test is positive and RF is negative, you may be in your early stages of RA
  • If anti-CCP and RF tests are negative, there are fewer chances for you to develop RA

If you are showing RA symptoms despite a negative result, you may have to undergo more tests for further confirmation.

Are there any risks associated with this test?

There are absolutely no risks in taking this test. You may experience a slight bruise or pain on the spot where needle is pricked. These minor symptoms go away within few minutes.

Now that you are aware of the key role played by anti-CCP antibodies, get this test done to detect RA at an early stage itself. Your doctor may also suggest certain other tests for a comprehensive diagnosis. This can help in assessing the severity of rheumatoid arthritis and providing the right treatment. If you are facing any RA symptoms, get yourself checked for anti-CCP antibodies by booking for health test packages on Bajaj Finserv Health. Get an early diagnosis and stay safe from arthritis.

How Important is an Anti-CCP Test for Detecting Rheumatoid Arthritis? banner

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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