What Does a High Ana Level in a Blood Test Mean

The Antinuclear Antibody Test is used to diagnose various autoimmune disorders. Find out what a high ANA level in the blood means here.

The ANA blood test stands for Antinuclear Antibody Test which is specifically requested if you show any signs of an autoimmune disorder.  Signs of an autoimmune disorder can vary and include fever, joint pains and tiredness. If you have recently been to your doctor and have been found to have a high ANA level then you may be concerned as to what this means.

ANA levels are measured in an immunology lab using a ELISA technique which determines the concentration of antinuclear antibodies. Low levels of ANA antibodies are considered negative while titres or levels of 1:320 are representative of a high ANA level in the blood.  The fluorescent patterns formed by the ANA are examined under a microscope as different patterns can point to a different diagnosis. A homogenous pattern indicates mixed connective tissue disease and Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), while a speckled pattern can indicate several autoimmune disorders including SLE, polymyositis and Sjogrens disease amongst others.  A nucleolar pattern can indicate scleroderma and an outline pattern can indicate SLE.

A high ANA level in the blood and examination of the resultant fluorescent pattern does not give a specific diagnosis as many conditions may be responsible for the high levels. In some cases older people may get a high ANA blood result and yet may not have an autoimmune disorder. Over 90% of SLE patients have a high ANA level.  Anti- double stranded DNA can help doctors diagnose SLE in presence of a high ANA result and SLE symptoms.

If you have a high ANA level in your blood you may need further tests to help diagnose what type of autoimmune disease you have.

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