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What is the significance of positive antinuclear antibody (ANA)?

Q: My 39 years old wife's antinuclear antibody (ANA) test is positive. As per the doctor, this is related to the immune system; hence has no medicinal remedy. My wife is having pain like arthritis since our daughter's birth 10 years back. However, all her rheumatoid arthritis (RA) tests are negative. Please suggest any suitable medicine/therapy.

A:There seems to be some confusion and misunderstanding in your mind related to ANA test.

  • Firstly - what was the reason for getting this test done?
  • Secondly - what technique was used for doing this test? Indirect immunofluorescence test or ELISA test?
  • These are important points for answering your questions. ANA test is done only if there is a strong suspicion of a disease where repeated episodes of fever, skin rash on exposure to sunlight, oral ulcers and joint pains with swelling occur. On the other hand, if it is done on normal people or in a large number of other diseases - it can be reported as positive but it may not have significance (the so-called false positive test).

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