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Answers tagged ANA: Page 1 of 1

Rhyse from Canada asks: How do I get my doctor to test for Lupus?

Unfortunately, there is no “test” for lupus.  Lupus is best diagnosed by combining a good history (talking with you), a physical exam and correlating those results with blood tests.  A ANA test is a good test to rule out lupus.  If it is negative, most people do not have a lupus.  It is not a good test to diagnose lupus.  While you have to be ANA positive to have lupus, most people who are ANA positive do not have lupus.  If an ANA is positive and you have other symptoms that suggest lupus, then a referral to a rheumatologist is often in order.


Cindy from Calgary asks: I tested positive for the ANA blood test. How can I get a confirmed diagnosis and treatment right away, if confirmed?

An ANA test is a non-specific test which may be associated with autoimmune diseases.  In rheumatology, that means systemic lupus or other connective tissues diseases.  An ANA test does not confirm a diagnosis.  In fact, 10% of the general population has a positive ANA test and the majority – more than 95% of them – do not have and will never have lupus.  To diagnose lupus or another connective tissue disease, it requires you and your doctor or rheumatologist to review your symptoms and overall health, complete a physical exam, and then pursue investigations based on that information.


Shawna from Drumheller asks: My Father has been diagnosed with Crest Syndrome.  I have gone to my family physician because of this family history and have found through some basic testing that I am ANA+. They have tested for lupus but nothing come back. Is this something that I should have further investigated or should I not be concerned?

For everyone else, CREST syndrome is now more commonly referred to limited scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis.  CREST stands for Calcinosis, Raynaud’s, Esophageal Dysmotility, Sclerodactyly and Telangiectasias, which are common but not complete manifestations of scleroderma.

An ANA test is a non-specific test on its own.  Approximately 10% of the population is ANA+, and over 95% of them will never have an autoimmune disease.  The most important thing to do, whether or not an individual is ANA positive, is to always monitor for manifestations of illness and to follow up with your physician at that time.  For more on lupus, click here.


Tara from Edmonton asks:  I tested positive for Sjogren’s syndrome and Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Can you please tell me something about them?

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease with its most common symptom being dry eyes and dry mouth.  Read here for more on rheumatoid arthritis, and check out this previous answer for more information.  However, you should know there is no definitive test for rheumatoid arthritis or Sjogren’s syndrome.  There are tests that are associated with these conditions, but they are not definitive.  To make a diagnosis of most rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s syndrome, an expert in these conditions needs to take a good history and complete a physical examination; then, it is appropriate to look at any investigations and determine how they best fit all together.  There are many patients we see who test “positive” for these blood tests, but don’t have – and may never have – a rheumatic disease.


Anna from Port Alberni, BC asks: I really have no symptoms, but my doctor is concerned that I have mixed connective tissue disease because my RNP test is positive.  What should I do?

Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) is similar and has some overlap to systemic lupus.  By definition, an antibody test called RNP should be positive in MCTD.  However, as in many conditions and tests in rheumatology, a positive test does not necessarily diagnose a disease.  Conversely, a negative test does not always rule out a disease either.  To truly make a diagnosis of MCTD, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or many other rheumatic diseases, your doctor/rheumatologist needs to review your personal history with you, complete a physical examination, review the appropriate tests and put all that information together to make an informed diagnosis.

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