Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) Test?

Rach101
Rach101 Member Posts: 165
Hi, I've been diagnosed with reactive arthritis due to (amongst other things) joint pain and swelling that has now lasted just over 6 months. As I haven't been given any treatment in the NHS and have been discharged from rheumatology I have made an appointment to see a private rheumatologist.

So I thought I'd print out all my blood test results to take with me and I've just come across one called an Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) Test which was one of the tests done when I was first unwell. The result of this was positive at 1:80 and 'speckled' but this was never mentioned to me by the dr.

Is this a standard test for arthritis? I've not come across it in my reading so I'm a little confused. I will ask the rheumatologist when I go but I just wondered if you could shed any light on it in the meantime?

Thanks Rachel

Comments

  • helpline_team
    helpline_team Posts: 2,593
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Rachel,
    I’m sorry to hear that you’re still living with the symptoms of joint pain and swelling.

    ANA is not a standard test for arthritis. It is a test that can indicate any one of several autoimmune conditions. Inflammatory types of arthritis are autoimmune conditions, as are other conditions that may be treated by a Rheumatologist, such as Lupus or Scleroderma. NHS Choices gives a brief description of the ANA test and why it may be used: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Raynauds-phenomenon/Pages/Diagnosis.aspx.

    What’s really important to remember is that a positive ANA test result does not necessarily mean that you have an autoimmune condition. As with all blood tests for arthritis, no single test is definitive. Healthy people who will never develop any autoimmune condition can test positive. This article from Arthritis Research UK gives an explanation of the issues involved: http://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/news/general-news/2011/january/closer-test-result-analysis-could-eliminate-false-positives-for-autoimmune-disease.aspx.

    It’s a shame that diagnosing any type of inflammatory arthritis (or, indeed, ruling it out) can be such a time-consuming process. I hope it helps to discuss your experiences and tests results so far with your next Rheumatologist. If it should ever help to talk things over, you are very welcome to call the Arthritis Care Helplines on 0808 800 4050.

    With best wishes,
    Rachael, Helplines Worker

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