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(+) ANA - Irrelevant?
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(+) ANA - Irrelevant?

My Rheumatologist said that a positive Ana means nothing because a majority of the population have a (+) ANA with no symptoms or problems. However, I told her if a person IS experiencing many symptoms of a possible autoimmune disease, then wouldn't the Ana be significant? Her answer was no.
I have had a (+) ANA for seven years now since I acquired Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy, a Neurogenic Bladder, Type II Diabetes, Bilateral Carpal Tunnel Syndrome,  and Chronic Pain, due to a failed back surgery. Actually the back surgery was the catapult that kick-started the Fibromyalgia. I have a continual reddening of both of my arms, and my face flares up red for weeks at a time. I have so many symptoms of Lupus and/or MS, but of course it takes many years of testing and documenting of symptoms to get a clear diagnosis.
Basically, and I know many people have had this same experience that I have, that physicians treat you like you are just a hypocondriac, and that you couldn't possibly be having that many things wrong with you at your age. (I'm 43 y.o.).

I have decided to write down a detailed hystery of problems/symptoms I have and give a copy to each of my physicians. I don't think that doctors, or family for that matter, understand that it isn't that we WANT a diagnosis of something, but getting a clear diagnosis enables us to finally learn how to deal with the problem head-on, and get the proper care.

Anyway, my question is has anyone been told by a physician that a (+) ANA is anything significant to worry about and that it is used to help make a diagnosis?
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17 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
Did I really spell history as 'hystery? I definitely have brain fog today. I guess I'm anal about incorrect spelling and bad grammar. Oh well...
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293157_tn?1285877039
I have heard my Dr say that a positive ANA test is one of the many tests...it is common for people to have a positive ANA and not have any symptoms.  But, if you have a positive ANA, it's a sign to get other tests done eg: CRP for high protein?  Inflammation?  etc...
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Avatar_f_tn

According to Dr. David Bell, up to 25% of the CFS population has a positive ANA titer and some autoimmunity problems. Also 29% of fibromyalgia patients have a positive ANA titer and another 21.5% of fibromyalgia patients have a positive RF.
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354604_tn?1328555666
with that much going on, how could there be one simple diagnosis? Surgery compromises the entire system~puttting our system in what I call a healing crisis. It takes time for things to balance out. I hope you can find a way to hang in there if there turns out to be no simple one diagnosis. what symptoms would lead you to Lupus of MS that are not already within the chronic fatige? Platelet Gal and Wobbly provided some good information for you also. Relax and breathe~the answers will come. Love & Light~
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Avatar_f_tn
My daughter was diagnosed with SLE because +ANA C3 C4 CH50 CBC Creatinine  GOT and Urinalisis routine I don't know if all of those came back positive but because of this lab work and her having joints pain she was diagnosed in only 2 visits to Rheumatologis
I wonder after I see all those people they can get diagnosed even after years of pain and symptoms, how she got diagnosed in only 2 visits First visit was about the health history and a trip to the lab, second visit was about the lab work results and the diagnosed. She never had a rash but she always gets urinary tract infection, yeast infection,cold symptoms her hands and feet feels cold all the time She has mitrovalve prolapse syndrome (can't spell it) and she feels tired all the time. Also for 10 years or so she took birth control pills due to heavy and painful periods.Recently they found some small cyst in one of her ovary which is the cause for the pain doctor said. She stopped taking those pills after she was diagnosed. Tiredness could be because she is in college for 6 years now and full time LPN job working 12 to 16 hours straight shift but she will graduate in May.Thanks God maybe then she will have more time to rest. She has a bad reaction to bugs bites thicks, spiders mosquitos and when she was small she had Giardia and irritable bowel syndrome which was her first health complain and she got over it when she got older That is all her health history from when she was small to now 25 years old. No major problems. Can someone tell me if all of this sounds like Lupus?? or she should ask for another opinion? Thanks
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Avatar_n_tn
I wrote a comment to all members that answered my post, but I don't think it went through, so here goes again:
Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate everyone who decides to take the time to walk into someone else's life for a moment and try to help out. I think it is very brave and heartfelt.
I don't know if I will ever find definitive answers to my ailments, especially since most physicians really could care less about us (they sure get paid enough to care; the only people who get paid more than them are movie stars and some lottery winners). lol

To Gina52, I sure hope you get answers to your daughter's ailments. Don't get discouraged. It's a shame that our youth can be robbed of us because of multiple health issues.

A Happy and Healthy New Year to all members and their loved ones.
Zeffect
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Avatar_f_tn
Zeffect, if your ANA is positive for 7 years did the doctor had done more test like C3 C4 CH50 CBC Creatinine  GOT and urinalisis routine? How is that, my daughter 25 y/o with no other symptoms beside joint pain (sometimes) got diagnosed with Lupus in 2 doctor visits,  and you with all this symptoms and not been diagnosed yet?
Is that true if you have a disease like Lupus your health insurance will dropped you? due to doctor visits and lab work?
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354604_tn?1328555666
Yes, I've hear of doctors diagnosing with SLE/LE w/out ana antibody testing... and take years to diagnose CFS/FM. Go Figure!
It's very scarey to go through this stuff, all of the changes, ongoing questions, etc. without a diagnosis.
Aren't HMO's wonderful??? Remember back in 84-86 when they told us how good they were going to be?? They still have the power/control. But I cannot answer that last question definitively... Let me know if you find out anything else about the insurance coverage ~ peace & respect ~ woshi
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Avatar_n_tn
I've heard the same thing that some insurance companies will drop patients after a diagnosis because they know you will be using their services more often than not, therefore, you will cost them more money than they want to shell out on one person. Unfortunately you will probably have to fight with any/all insurance companies no matter what company you have. Never take no for an answer, by the way, if your insurance rejects paying a bill.
Before I got injured, I was an Occupational Therapist, and my patient's insurance companies were always refusing to make payment, but what I learned is that depending on what the doctor (and/or therapists, nurses) WRITE IN YOUR CHART, will be the determining factor in if a bill is paid. Sometimes when I was working, we were told to go back and re-word our notes on a patient if their insurance company was not paying. Not lie or fabricate the truth, just see if there was another way the notes could be phrased. I actually got so good at writing my notes that I was asked to give a speech on note writing, which was terrifying because I was new just out of College, and I was giving a speech to therapists who had been in the business for up to 25 years.
Anyway, my point is that most of us who are insured, have to fight with our insurance company at some point, or like me, almost weekly.
Take Care Gina52
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Avatar_f_tn
My daughter is having jaw pain what goes down to the neck. No inflammation everything looks normal just pain for more than a week, when she talks, opens her mouth , turn her head and when she eats  Is that related to Lupus, is anyone there with same symptoms? Does she have to go to see the doc again?
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Avatar_f_tn

I have CFIDS and also have a positive ANA titer... a very high one, at that. Feel free to check out the FMS/CFS & EAV boards. I post there regularly and so do many other members with these conditions. I think you will feel at home there.

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471161_tn?1317194550
To:Zeffect, ANA is only one way to check whether or not you may have a connective tissue disorder which could be Lupus, RA or quite a few other diseases that fit into that catagory.  From what I have learned and I kow we are all told different things by doctors and I read opposing opinions in books I read all the time.  But from what I understand they don't think right now that Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue causes an elevated ANA but they could be wrong.  I agree with Gina you need your C3, C4 CH50 and a few other tests done to make it more clear what you may have.  There are two tests I have had.  One is the Smith Test and the other is a DNA test.  If those come back positive you have Lupus.  If they come back negative you might have Lupus.  I know, it stinks huh??  But it get you closer to a real diagnosis.  As far as Insurance goes.  I don't know if things are different in Texas but I am on COBRA right now from the insurance I had where I worked and it is illegal for them to drop me because I am sick.  I think if you have private insurance maybe they can up your premium to make it more difficult on you but I have never heard of you being dropped.  I may be wrong.  Oh, also have them check your Chrimatin (Nucleosomal) Antibody.  That actually tells you how active the antibodies are in your body.
Platletgirl, what is EAV?  Is it an autoimmune disorder?  I haven't heard of it.  Did your doctor tell you that you had autoimmune?  My doctors (many of them) say that CFS and FMS do not cause a high ANA.  I don't think doctors know enough about any of this to give us answers.  Also, if you don't mind would you tell me what your ANA is?  Mine is 1:1280 which is extremely high.
Gina, I have TMJ now since I have been sick, never had it before.  It can be painful sometimes.  The doctor was not clear as to if that was the FMS or the Lupus.  I would call the doctor and get your daughter back in.
I was told the other day by my doctor that as high as my ANA is I will most likely but not for sure have kidney, heart or some other organ problems in my future.  I have not had the nerve to tell my boyfriend that and I don't want my daughter to know.  Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't be just trying to enjoy my life for now.  My doctor told me the other day to quit trying so hard to find a cure because honestly there is not one.  She is my family doctor and she is wonderful and the only doctors that sits and talks to me and answers my questions straight up.  She told me to find something enjoyable to do get lots of rest.  She said there is nothing we can do anyway.  That was hard to take because I have been searching and studying for months on how to get over this.  I even gave up Diet Coke because of the Aspertame. LOL  Oh and I got rid of feather pillows and my feather comforter because I read about all the dust mite stuff in them.  Oh well, sorry this is so long.  I think I'll give in and go have a big Diet Coke and not worry about anything tonight.  God Bless you all.  You will all be in my prayers tonight.  Thanks for letting me vent.
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Avatar_f_tn
"But from what I understand they don't think right now that Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue causes an elevated ANA but they could be wrong."

I agree with you and I believe they are wrong. 25% of CFS patients have a positive ANA  (myself included) and 29% of fibromyalgia patients have a positive ANA as well. This is what David Moskowitz, M.D. (Harvard Graduate) has to say:

"We have encountered two patients with Fibromyalgia initially diagnosed as having Autoimmune Fatigue Syndrome (AIFS). To investigate the relationship between AIFS and Fibromyalgia, the distribution of the tender points in patients with AIFS was assessed according to the ACR criteria for Fibromyalgia. It was revealed that AIFS patients had 5.6 tender points on average. Patients with headaches, digestive problems, or difficulty going to school had more tender points than patients without. Patients with ana titers  or = 1:160. Anti-sa negative patients had more tender points than positive patients."

"These results suggest a relationship between AIFS and Fibromyalgia in terms of the pathophysiologic mechanisms of the numerous tender points. In other words, ana-positive Fibromyalgia patients could be one form of AIFS, as well as ana-positive Chronic Fatigue Syndrome patients. Thus, autoimmunity could explain the controversial disease entities of Fibromyalgia and/or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome."

source:

http://www.immunesupport.com/library/showarticle.cfm/id/5007

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484098_tn?1259531132
ANA stands for Antinuclear Antibody. This literally means 'substance against the cell nucleus'. The nucleus is the 'headquarters' of the living cell, therefore the ANA can damage or destroy cells & tissues.

95%-98% of patients with SLE will have a positive ANA test, but the majority of people with a positive ANA test do not have SLE. A positive ANA test can be found in many conditions, including Sjogren's Syndrome, scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, & mixed connective tissue disease. Many normal healthy people will also have a positive ANA test. Therefore a positive ANA test, on it's own, does not mean that person has lupus.

Because of this, the physician has to look very carefully at the titer (number) & pattern of the ANA test. The titer shows how many times the technician had to mix fluid from the patient's blood to get a sample free of ANAs. Thus a titer of 1:640 shows a greater concentration of ANA than 1:320 or 1:160, since it took 640 dilutions of the plasma before ANA was no longer detected. The apparent great difference between various titers can be misleading. Since each dilution involves doubling the amount of test fluid, it is not surprising that titers increase rapidly. In fact, the difference between titers of 1:160 & 1:320 is only a single dilution. And it doesn't necessarily represent a major difference in disease activity.

ANA titers go up & down during the course of the disease, & may or may not reflect disease activity. Therefore it is not always possible to tell from the titer how severe a person's lupus is.

A titer of 1:80 or lower is usually considered negative.

The pattern of the ANA is studied by microscope. The technician examines a specially prepared slide that shows where antibodies attack the nucleus. Certain antibodies attack certain areas of the nucleus, producing four specific patterns.

The rim (peripheral) pattern is the most specific pattern for lupus, while the homogeneous (diffuse) pattern is the most common pattern seen. The remaining patterns are the speckled and nucleolar patterns. In some cases the pattern helps the doctor decide which of the autoimmune diseases is causing the problem and which treatment program is appropriate.

Because a positive ANA test can be found in other diseases as well as SLE, the physician will use a positive ANA test as only one factor in determining whether or not a patient has lupus. A positive ANA test does not mean that a person has lupus. The physician needs to find other clinical features such as butterfly rashes, arthritis, pleurisy, blood abnormalities, kidney disease, etc., in addition to a positive ANA test before making a diagnosis of SLE.

The reliability of the ANA test depends upon the laboratory. Many variables can interfere with the test & give false numbers. The accuracy of the test can also vary, depending on many factors, such as the strength of the fluorescent antibody, or even the quality of the microscope used.

Once a patient is found to be ANA positive, the physician may want to further investigate which antigen in the nucleus is responsible for the positive ANA test. The knowledge of which antigen is responsible for the positive ANA test can sometimes be helpful in determining which disease is present. For instance, antibodies to DNA (the protein that makes up the body's genetic code) are found primarily in SLE. Levels of these antibodies in the blood can be useful to the physician in following the course of lupus, especially in patients with kidney disease. Anti-DNA levels, however, do not always perfectly match the clinical course of lupus kidney disease. Antibodies to histones (DNA packaging proteins) may be very helpful in determining whether a patient has drug-induced lupus. These antibodies may be found in SLE as well. Antibodies to Sm antigen are found almost exclusively in lupus, & when present, help to clinch the diagnosis of SLE. Antibodies to RNP (ribonucleoprotein) are found in a variety of connective tissue diseases. When present in very high levels, they are indicative of mixed connective tissue disease, a condition with features of SLE, polymyositis, and scleroderma. Antibodies to SS-A are found in both lupus and Sjogren's syndrome and are sometimes associated with babies who are born with neonatal lupus.

I copied and pasted the above from the net.  

I also read my liver transplant doctors notes in my file.....he said he felt the ANA titer of 1:320 that I had was due to the high concentration of fat in my liver.  I was given a pill that helped my liver get rid of the excess fat, and my Titers are now down to 1:80.  I still have lots of pain, so the lower titer didn't mean a thing regarding my symptoms.  I also am now taking estrogen.  When my brain fog was at it's worst, I was going through menopause.  So, now that i'm on estrogen, I seem to have a better brain.  less fog.  Truly, I don't believe the titer values change much with the symptoms.  the higher my titer is, the more my liver hurts.  MAYBE WE SHOULD ALL GIVE UP THE FATS FROM OUR DIET, EXCEPT A TEASPOON OF OLIVE OIL ON OUR SALAD.  WE MAY GET BETTER.  CAN'T HURT TO TRY, RIGHT?  
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I have a co-worker whose wife has the red/purple arms and her doctor diagnosed her with RSD, REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY.  Look that up and see what clicks for you.  

also, TO ALL FIBROMYALGIA SUFFERERS....ANOTHER CO-WORKER OF MINE HAS A WIFE THAT HAS FIBROMYALGIA, AND SHE WENT ON THE RAW FOOD DIET, AND ALL HER PROBLEMS/SYMPTOMS/PAIN WENT AWAY!!!  we can surely try that!  
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Avatar_m_tn
I had 1:1280 titers back in 1995. It was caused by taking Vicodin and Ambien plus I was working for many years before that with chemicals. The latest findings is a MS like disease. A autoimmune to the peripheral nerve lining which is what Multiple Sclerosis is. I have pain every day and fatigue and also have been diagnosed with Multiple Chemicals Sensitivity or MCS or EI. I never was normal until about 2005 when the medical community changes the method of reading ANA's. I got down to 1:80 titers before that on every test for years. I detoxed heavily with Pau D' Arco tea and every now in then a touch of Chaparral in it. I know what caused my MS as it was diagnosed by testing and my doctor back in 2002. I today feel like my whole nervous system is shot. I feel weak and shaky and sometimes my legs give out so I carry a cane most the time to use to catch myself when that happens. My web site on this is www.envirohawk.com . My liver was always running wrong also up until when they changed all the measurement methods in the labs then all the sudden everything is normal range. People when a doctor tells you something that is abnormal is normal get another doctor! They are hiding the truth from you and what I call quacks. Right now we are being killed slowly just like crabs in a pot of cold water slowly cooking until they realize they are cooked then it is too late. Look up Alex Jones and go to his talk shows. He says the government is setting us all up for the kill as do many others.The medical community in the US is killing 250K a year just in medical malpractice and that is the ones caught at it. Many die without being properly diagnosed and many family members do nothing about the deaths. SO that number is way below the truth. How many died in IRAQ? Our war is here, not out there. The government is corrupted by the big businesses. Mainly the Pharmaceutical and Medical Industries. With my web site I found that many doctors and nurses are coming down with MCS. They use formaldehyde to preserve corpses and body parts and it is a major player in MCS.
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Avatar_m_tn
I had 1:1280 titers back in 1995. It was caused by taking Vicodin and Ambien plus I was working for many years before that with chemicals. The latest findings is a MS like disease. A autoimmune to the peripheral nerve lining which is what Multiple Sclerosis is. I have pain every day and fatigue and also have been diagnosed with Multiple Chemicals Sensitivity or MCS or EI. I never was normal until about 2005 when the medical community changes the method of reading ANA's. I got down to 1:80 titers before that on every test for years. I detoxed heavily with Pau D' Arco tea and every now in then a touch of Chaparral in it. I know what caused my MS as it was diagnosed by testing and my doctor back in 2002. I today feel like my whole nervous system is shot. I feel weak and shaky and sometimes my legs give out so I carry a cane most the time to use to catch myself when that happens. My web site on this is www.envirohawk.com . My liver was always running wrong also up until when they changed all the measurement methods in the labs then all the sudden everything is normal range. People when a doctor tells you something that is abnormal is normal get another doctor! They are hiding the truth from you and what I call quacks. Right now we are being killed slowly just like crabs in a pot of cold water slowly cooking until they realize they are cooked then it is too late. Look up Alex Jones and go to his talk shows. He says the government is setting us all up for the kill as do many others.The medical community in the US is killing 250K a year just in medical malpractice and that is the ones caught at it. Many die without being properly diagnosed and many family members do nothing about the deaths. SO that number is way below the truth. How many died in IRAQ? Our war is here, not out there. The government is corrupted by the big businesses. Mainly the Pharmaceutical and Medical Industries. With my web site I found that many doctors and nurses are coming down with MCS. They use formaldehyde to preserve corpses and body parts and it is a major player in MCS.
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