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Q. My father is positive for rheumatoid factor and had ankylosing spondylitis. Will I get the same?

Answered by
Dr. Naval Mendiratta
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 08, 2019

Hello doctor,

I have a question relating to my deceased father. I obtained his medical records after his death. While searching through his records to gain a better understanding of what may happen to me, I found he was positive for the rheumatoid factor and had been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis. However, the HLA-B27 gene test was negative. I brought this to my rheumatologist and she told me she thought he had something else, but would not elaborate. Does anyone have an idea of what she may thought because she still has not told me? Since then I have switched rheumatologists for that reason. My father passed away from leukemia brought on by myelodysplasia.

I would like to know because doctors still have no idea what may be plaguing me. I have seen multiple doctors for my slightly high CK levels. I have been tested for myelodysplasia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple muscle diseases, sarcoidosis, and many more. I have not received any answers as of yet.

Dr. Naval Mendiratta



Welcome to

Well, I do not think you should be worried about anything. Firstly rheumatoid factor is not transmitted genetically unlike HLA- B27 (human leucocyte antigen). Secondly, it can be positive in a lot of people but does not cause any symptoms. Thirdly, you have been tested so far and it has all been negative. Leukemia does carry a family history but you can get your blood checked every six months. One thing you need to understand is, there are no medications as such which can you take which can prevent autoimmune diseases. If it has to happen, it would or else not. But yes, stress would definitely make things worse. So I would suggest just take it easy since you have had negative tests and enjoy your life. Keep a regular health check. Eat healthily and exercise regularly. You have not got any answers since you are healthy.

I hope this helps.

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