Relatable Rheumatology: Blood Work in Rheumatoid Arthritis Diagnosis, Treatment, and Monitoring

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In this episode of Relatable Rheumatology, experts discuss a critically important topic for patients with rheumatoid arthritis: bloodwork and laboratory tests.

In this episode of Relatable Rheumatology: From Studies to Stories, Ben Nowell, PhD, MSW, director of Patient-Centered Research at the Global Healthy Living Foundation and CreakyJoints, discussed a critically important topic for patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA): bloodwork and laboratory tests.

For many people with RA, lab tests are a regular part of their health care routine. These tests help providers monitor disease activity, track the effectiveness of treatment, and identify potential complications. For patients, however, bloodwork can be confusing or overwhelming.

To explore these questions, Nowell interviewed Deen Allen, PhD, a chemist and patient with RA, and Liana Fraenkel, MD, MPH, a rheumatologist from Berkshire Medical Center and Yale School of Medicine and a well-respected researcher and mentor. Fraenkel described bloodwork from the perspective of a practicing clinician and researcher, and how this information can be used to improve patient outcomes.

Nowell also included a series of interviews highlighting the patient perspective during his time on-site attending the European Alliance of Associations for Rheumatology (EULAR) 2023 conference, held in Milan, Italy, from May 31 through June 3.

A recent study conducted by ArthritisPower and presented at EULAR 2023 found that patients with RA perceived their C-reactive protein (CRP) results to be the most helpful in understanding their disease history. Allen emphasized how understanding his baseline CRP levels helped to determine patterns and develop a treatment strategy for his RA. However, Fraenkel warned although CRP is helpful, it may not be indicative of how active their disease activity is.

“Living with the rheumatic disease can be a journey filled with questions, uncertainty, and challenges,” Nowell explained. “Whether it's navigating the diagnosis process, understanding treatment options, or managing symptoms, it can be difficult to find reliable information and support. That's why we created this podcast to bring together real-life experiences of people living with rheumatic disease, and expert research evidence to shed light on the questions and challenges faced by those living with these


The podcast is a co-production by the Global Healthy Living Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people living with chronic illnesses, and HCPLive.