This test is used for detecting the proteins named antinuclear antibodies located in the blood. The human body produces these antibodies so that it can repel the attacks of the infections. There may be some antibodies that have different purpose and they can destroy the body tissue. These antibodies are detected by the test we will talk about. When the test is positive, the autoimmune reaction is set in motion, which will have the healthy tissue for target. When this happens, the conditions called connective tissue disease are created and they include scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. If the test was inconclusive, in other words, nor positive or negative, there are many diverse tests that can be done in order to confirm the problem.
Reasons for Performing the Test
If the doctor has found reason in the symptoms, physical exam or medical history, this test may be performed. Many problems, like unexplained fatigue or painful joints, can suggest this problem, but they may also be non-specific, so the doctor will resort to the physical examination in order to come up with a proper diagnose. When the examination is done, the interpretation of the test follows, and it is also very important. Further testing may be included. These tests are done to detect sedimentation rate, but there are more specific antibody tests like blood sample, urinalysis, examines urine, and complete blood count, which evaluates the whole body health and many components of the blood.
Prior to the test, eating and drinking goes without any change. This can only be done if only the blood sample is used for testing. If some other tests are performed, this may not be the case. Certainly, the doctor will provide the information that you should follow. Medications can interfere with the results of the test, so if you are about to have this test, notify the doctor about any medications that you have taken. The test will require some blood, so it is taken with a needle inserted in the vein located on an arm. The lab will receive the blood and run tests.
The test will be positive if antinuclear antibodies are located, but this does not mean that you surely have the disease. Sometimes, the test may be positive without having a disease, which is common among woman older than 65 years of age. Development of antinuclear antibodies can be aided by the infections like mononucleosis, but several anti-seizure and blood pressure lowering medications can have the same effect. If the problem of connective tissue disease is suspected, many tests that will help in diagnosing the problem are available. In order to come to the exact diagnose, doctor will perform many test, and ANA test is just one of them.