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Lupus

Does Positive ANA = SLE

03/05/2004

Question:

Hi! I am a almost 34 yr old woman. Four years ago a routine blood test came back with extremely high positive ANA. Thus, I was diagnosed with SLE. I have been on plaqinual since then. My question is could there be another reason for the positive ANA? Up until this year I have had no symptoms to complain about. ANd now I am wondering if my symptoms might be related to something else.

I have trouble swallowing, tremors, neck pain and tingling and numbness in my spine, legs and toes. My drs don`t seem to be concerned, but the predisone I am on is not helping and I am now convinced I am dealing with MS or something worse.

What else could cause positive ANA?

Answer:

ANA is not a test which is `routinely` done. The question is which symptoms or signs determined your physician to order it and diagnose lupus at the beginning. Positive ANA is not diagnostic of lupus; it is only supportive of the diagnosis if the patient is suspected clinically to have the disease. ANA can be positive in many diseases: lupus, other connective tissue diseases, autoimmune hepatitis, autoimmune thyroid problems, interstitial lung disease. It is not specific for lupus. Certain medications may induce positive ANA. Relatives of patients with lupus or autoimmune diseases may have positive ANA. Ten percent of healthy people may have positive ANA. The symptoms described are not specific for lupus or a definite connective tissue disease. They can appear with neurological, endocrine or inflammatory conditions or with fibromyalgia. 

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Response by:

Yolanda   Farhey, MD Yolanda Farhey, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati