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The antinuclear antibody (ANA) test measures the amount of ANA antibodies in the blood. ANA antibodies are produced by the immune system and attack the healthy tissues of the body, causing inflammation and pain. A positive blood test for ANA antibodies indicates a high likelihood of an autoimmune disease, such as systemic lupus erythematosus.
The ANA test is a simple blood test collected via venipuncture. ANA antibody levels in blood are reported as a titer. Normal titers range from 1:40 to 1:60.
Increased ANA levels can result from:
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Collagen vascular disease
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Thyroid disease
Am I required to fast for this test?
No, you do not need to fast for this test. However, if you are concurrently having another test done that requires fasting, you need to fast for that test as indicated.
What are normal levels?
Normally, blood ANA antibody titers are 1:40 to 1:60. The normal values can vary depending on the laboratory. The exact range will be indicated on your report.
What are abnormal levels?
Higher than normal ANA antibody levels indicate increased likelihood of systemic lupus erythematosus or other autoimmune diseases. Certain medications can also affect the test results, such as birth control pills, procainaminde, and thiazide diuretics.
Why do I need it?
If you think you might suffer from systemic lupus erythematosus or have unexplained symptoms of rash, arthritis or chest pain, you may consider taking this test.
What type of doctor should I see if results are abnormal?
See your primary health care provider who may refer you to a specialist, such as a rheumatologist.