1 What is an ANA Test?
An ANA test detects the presence of antinuclear antibodies (ANA) in your blood.
Our immune system normally creates antibodies that help you fight and resist infection.
In contrast, antinuclear antibodies can often attack your body's own tissues.
In most cases, positive ANA test shows that your immune system has launched a misdirected attack on your own tissue.
But people can have positive ANA tests even when they are healthy.
Your doctor may recommend an ANA test if he or she suspects you have an autoimmune disease like:
2 Reasons for Procedure
A patient will need to undergo ANA test for the following reasons:
A lot of rheumatic diseases show similar signs and symptoms.
While an ANA test cannot confirm a particular diagnosis, it can rule out some diseases. And if the ANA test is positive your blood.
Your blood can be tested for the presence of particular antinuclear bodies, some of which are specific to certain diseases.
3 Preparing for your Procedure
In preparing for your ANA test, you must follow your doctor’s orders. This can include:
If your sample is being used only for an ANA test, you can eat and drink normally before the test can be carried out.
If your blood sample will be used for additional tests, you may be asked to stop taking food or drink for a particular period of time before the test.
Certain drugs affect the accuracy of the test, so it is advisable to bring your doctor a list of medications you take.
4 What to Expect
During/before/after your ANA test, you can expect:
A member of your health team will take a sample of your blood by inserting a needle into a vein in your arm.
The blood sample is then sent to the laboratory for analysis.
5 Procedure Results
The presence of antinuclear antibodies is a positive ANA test result.
However, having a positive procedure result does not indicate that you don’t have a disease.
Many people with no disease have positive ANA tests, in particular, women older than 65.
Mononucleosis and other chronic infectious diseases have associated with the development of antinuclear antibodies.
Some blood pressure lowering drugs and certain anti-seizure medications may trigger antinuclear antibody formation, as well.
If your doctor suspects you have an autoimmune disorder, he or she is likely to order a number of tests.
The result of your ANA test is one piece of information your doctor can use to figure out the cause of your signs and symptoms.