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.