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Avatar universal

Positive ANA

I have been experiencing extreme fatigue, muscle twitches all over my body, hyper active knee reflexes, and head/neck/back aches.

My doctor did some basic bloodwork that was all within normal limits except for a Positive ANA 1:320 Speckled.  Now he is sending me to a rheumatology specialist as this is indicative of an autoimmune disease.  I have been reading the symptoms of Lupus and I know the fatique and positive ANA fit, but not anything else.  Maybe joint pain?  Really, I just ache all over.  If it was my joints, would it be very obvious that the pain originated there?  I was thinking maybe MS or even Lyme disease, but neither are indicated by positive ANA.  I am going crazy trying to figure this all out as I wait to see the specialist.  Any thoughts?
11 Responses
434278 tn?1324709825

I'm pretty sure MS can produce a positve ANA.  You might want to shoot your question over on the MS forum.

Let me know what you find out.
Avatar universal
Seems some MS patients do have positive ANA results, but it isn't too common from what I am hearing.  I have my appt with the rheumy in two weeks so I can't wait to see what he says.  Today I have felt more specific aches in my joints.  Perhaps my overall achiness has really been in my joints, I just haven't stopped to feel exactly where the pain was coming from until now.  The muscle twitching and hyper active reflexes still don't fit, though.  Does the speckled pattern generally trend towards lupus or something else?

As if I did not have enough to worry about, I see the paperwork from my dr. says that sometimes a positive ANA is due to cancer.... so now I am concerned with that as well!  

Thanks for your input!
471161 tn?1317194550
A speckled pattern usually means it is either lupus, a mixed connective tissue disease or sclerderma.  My ANA runs 1:1280 speckled and at first I was told I had MCTD but when lupus symptoms appeared I was able to get a clear diagnosis.  It took almost a year for all lupus symptoms to show themselves though.  As far as your pain, keep in mind that you can be having joint pain but be feeling it some where completely different.  I have pain in my hip joints but I would swear my legs are aching.  It's difficult to tell the difference and after a while to will get to know your body more than you ever knew possible.  Please keep in mind that these diseases are managable and try to relax.  Make notes and keep a journal.  Take it with you to your doctor and that way you will be able to communicate well with him or her.  Also, ask for a copy of everything they do and make your own file on yourself.  You will be glad you did as time goes by.
God Bless and please let me know how you are doing.  Karajo is awesome and very helpful here.
745975 tn?1258964522

your symtoms sounds exactly like mine: ANA 1:320 speckled, over all aches, no specific join pain that kind of comes and goes. as well as the fatigue, malaise etc.

I saw a Rheumy he doesn't thing it is Lupus either. I was negative for anti-dna and CRP. I go in for a whole bunch more tests and I'll be interested to see what comes up if anything. I will let you know and keep you posted... maybe we have something similar?

PS did the Dr. test your thyroid levels and thyroid anti-bodies? low thyroid hormones could explain all your symptoms as well. I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis and it made me feel terrible. now it's under control with medicine and I still feel something is not quite right. Anyhow i will let you know what my blood tests were, might possibly give you a clue as to what you are experiencing too!
434278 tn?1324709825
I searched for causes of muscle spasms and hyper reflexes and this is what I came up with.  

One of the 5 possible causes are hypocalcemia.  Low calcium levels.  I know this would not cause an elevated ANA, but sometimes one thing leads to another.  Low calcium and low magnesium could bethe cause of the muscle problem.  One thing to understand about calcium is.  Your body really tries to maintain a constant level of calcium in your blood stream.  By the time a deficiency is noted in the blood work, it has leached all the calcium out of your bones trying to maintain the proper levels in your blood.  So the symptoms of low calcium are bone pain, especially eye twitches, muscle twitches.  To name a few.  

Yes, cancer "can" cause an elevated ANA, but my motto in life is don't worry about something that "might be".  As Jesus puts it, don't worry about tomorrow, tomorrow has enough worries of it's own.  To be honest, if you are having joint pain and fatigue, it is very likely that you might be dealing with lupus or maybe even fibromyalgia.  That too "can" have an elevated ANA in low titers.  And I think they consider 320 a low titer.  It can also be elevated in older people.  I don't know if you fall into that category.  

Statistically speaking the incidence of positive ANA (in percent) per conditon is:

Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus or SLE) - over 95%
Progressive systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) - 60-90%
Rheumatoid Arthritis - 25-30%
Sjogren's syndrome - 40-70%
Felty's syndrome - 100%
Juvenile arthritis - 15-30%

As you can see, cancer is not even listed in this list.  

I am trying to find an article I printed off on this very subject.  There is a thunder storm approaching and I want to hurry and send this before lightning deletes it.  If I find it I'll shoot it later.

God bless Kara

Those that trust in the Lord shall not be disappointed..
434278 tn?1324709825
Thought you might benefit from this article on hypocalcemia.  


Vit D deficiency is the main cause.  Vit D deficiency is quite common in autoimmune disorders.

Another cause is renal failure.  Which is sometimes affected by lupus.

Do you have any other symptoms besides joint pain?

Here is an article on malignancies and ANA levels>  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/440636

Hope this info helps.
Avatar universal
Thanks for taking the time to reply and research!  I am having a horrible day.  My family has been fighting a slight cold and now I think I have caught it.  I have felt awful for a month and just when I thought I was getting better, I think this slight cold has made it 100 times worse and now I am running a fever.  I think I read on another post from you that you felt like you were dying at one point before your diagnosis.  That is where I am now.  I have no choice but to get up every day and take care of my two small children.  Otherwise, I would stay in bed all day.

Assuming I do have Lupus (which I know is not sure at this point) is there anything I should do differently with this cold/fever?  Would there be any reason to go back to my doctor?  I normally would not visit my doctor for a slight cold, but I normally don't feel so horrible either!  I just saw him a couple of weeks ago and now am waiting on my first rheumatology appointment.

Thank you again!
434278 tn?1324709825
Girl, just checking on you.  Were you able to get over the cold?

Have you found anymore out?

Keep us posted.

Avatar universal
Kara, Thanks for checking up on me!  The cold is over and I am actually feeling good again.  Every time I feel an ache or pain though, I begin to panic that I am beginning to have another  "flare-up" of whatever is going on with me.  I have seen the rheumatologist and he seemed to have no answers.  I don't really have the typical symptoms of any particular disease.  He did, however, go ahead with some blood work.  I will find out those results any day now.  

I'm not sure what all he tested for, but is there any blood test that will lead him to a diagnosis?  I am sure I will post the results when they come in so that I can ask for help in figuring out what they might mean.  Does it seem reasonable that a positive ana of 1:320 along with the fatigue and aches could be a "false positive" or is it more likely that additional symptoms will just begin appearing over time?

Thanks again!  
434278 tn?1324709825
Keep a positive attitude.  One of the things that aggrevate lupus is STRESS!  I decided I could whip out my old chooser and choose how I was going to feel.  I know that seems silly, but it's what got me through.  On days I couldn't get out of bed because of the extreme fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and PAIN; I would say, it's just a day.  I a day or two I'll be better.  And on days I needed a cane to walk, I would say at least I'm not in that bed.  I chose to be thankful of what I did have.  I had good days, bad days and horrible days.  The horrible days were tough, but God got me through and is continuing to bring me through this.

I don't think I mentioned this to you, but if someone has lupus, sun exposure can cause the ANA to jump way up.  It's a way to either rule out or confirm a lupus dx.  Several hours before they check your ANA, spend time in the sun.  Maybe 30 min.  Depending on how hot the sun is.  Being in the sun usually makes me feel bad a couple of days later.

I don't know what all lab they did recently, but most people with an autoimmune disorder have a low vit D.  This can cause all sorts of symptoms, like bone pain, muscle spasms, depression, fatigue. etc.

Keep us posted and we are keeping you in our prayers.
Avatar universal
I just posted this as a new question, but I did get the results back and the dr. said it was all normal- not lupus or any other autoimmune disease.  BUT, I looked at the results and saw that my ANA is still positive and my smith anitbody was 1.0- normal range was 0.0-0.9- so just barely positive.   Would you get a second opinion?
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