If you're wondering why doctors care so much about the ANA lab or what it even is, you're in the right place!
The ANA lab is a short name for the Antinuclear Antibody test. It's an easy test that checks the levels of a protein or antibody in your bloodstream. Usually, they will check by drawing blood at your doctor's office, or an outside laboratory, such as Quest Diagnostics or Lab Corp.
Why do doctors care so much about it?
The ANA test is positive in the OVERWHELMING number (like >95%) of people that are diagnosed with Lupus. So it's rare to have Lupus without having a positive ANA test at some point.
However, the ANA test is NOT conclusive for Lupus alone. A fair amount of the population with NO diseases at all can have a positive ANA test and the ANA test can also be positive in Scleroderma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Sjogren's.
"What happened to my ANA?!?! It was positive before and now it's negative!"
The ANA can go positive and negative and may not be reflective of how good or bad you are feeling or your symptoms. Most doctors won't continue to run the ANA lab once you've been diagnosed. However, sometimes, when you change doctors, they may run it again.
I've heard time and time again of people going to a new doctor and the new doctor challenging the diagnosis of Lupus. ALWAYS ask for and maintain copies of your old medical records!!!! Doctors' offices don't legally need to keep your records forever, so if you don't have a copy, you may struggle to show your full medical history to a new doctor in the future.
What else should I know about the ANA lab?
The ANA lab generally increases as we get older. This doesn't mean your autoimmune disease is getting worse, it's just an interesting tidbit on how the human body works!
If you've been just diagnosed and are motivated to make diet and lifestyle changes to help manage your symptoms and prevent getting prescribed a bunch of medications - schedule your 15-minute, free, meet and greet call with me here!
I help people with Lupus feel their best through diet and lifestyle and can help YOU!
Stay tuned for more posts about other lab work done for Lupus and about the difference between speckled vs. homogenous and other adjectives they use to describe the ANA! results!