ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test?

An ANA test looks for antinuclear antibodies in your blood. If the test finds antinuclear antibodies in your blood, it may mean you have an autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder causes your immune system to attack your own cells, tissues, and/or organs by mistake. These disorders can cause serious health problems.

Antibodies are proteins that your immune system makes to fight foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. But an antinuclear antibody attacks your own healthy cells instead. It’s called “antinuclear” because it targets the nucleus (center) of the cells.

Other names: antinuclear antibody panel, fluorescent antinuclear antibody, FANA, ANA

What is it used for?

An ANA test is used to help diagnose autoimmune disorders, including:

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This is the most common type of lupus, a chronic disease affecting multiple parts of the body, including the joints, blood vessels, kidneys, and brain.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that causes pain and swelling of the joints, mostly in the hands and feet
  • Scleroderma, a rare disease affecting the skin, joints, and blood vessels
  • Sjogren’s syndrome, a rare disease affecting the body’s moisture-making glands

Why do I need an ANA test?

Your health care provider may order an ANA test if you have symptoms of lupus or another autoimmune disorder. These symptoms include:

What happens during an ANA test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for an ANA test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

A positive result on an ANA test means that antinuclear antibodies were found in your blood. You may get a positive result if:

  • You have SLE (lupus).
  • You have a different type of autoimmune disease.
  • You have a viral infection.

A positive result doesn’t necessarily mean you have a disease. Some healthy people have antinuclear antibodies in their blood. In addition, certain medicines can affect your results.

If your ANA test results are positive, your health care provider will likely order more tests, especially if you have symptoms of disease. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about an ANA test?

Antinuclear antibody levels tend to increase with age. As many as one-third of healthy adults over the age of 65 may have a positive ANA test result.

References

  1. American College of Rheumatology [Internet]. Atlanta: American College of Rheumatology; c2017. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) [updated 2017 Mar; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Antinuclear-Antibodies-ANA
  2. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth’s Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANAS); 53 p.
  3. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2018. Antinuclear Antibody (ANA); [updated 2018 Feb 1; cited 2018 Feb 8]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ana/tab/test
  4. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2018. Scleroderma; [updated 2017 Sep 20; cited 2018 Feb 8]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/scleroderma
  5. Lupus Research Alliance [Internet]. New York: Lupus Research Alliance; c2017. About Lupus [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.lupusresearch.org/understanding-lupus/what-is-lupus/about-lupus
  6. Lupus Research Alliance [Internet]. New York: Lupus Research Alliance; c2017. Symptoms [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.lupusresearch.org/understanding-lupus/what-is-lupus/symptoms
  7. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co., Inc.; c2017. Sjögren’s Syndrome [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/autoimmune-disorders-of-connective-tissue/sj%C3%B6gren-syndrome
  8. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co., Inc.; c2017. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/autoimmune-disorders-of-connective-tissue/systemic-lupus-erythematosus-sle
  9. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. ANA test: Overview; 2017 Aug 3 [cited Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ana-test/home/ovc-20344718
  10. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. ANA test: Results; 2017 Aug 3 [cited Nov 17]; [about 7 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ana-test/details/results/rsc-20344732
  11. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. ANA test: Why it’s done; 2017 Aug 3 [cited Nov 17]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ana-test/details/why-its-done/icc-20344722
  12. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Blood Tests; [cited 2018 Feb 8]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests
  13. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine: Genetics Home Reference [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; rheumatoid arthritis; 2017 Nov 14 [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/rheumatoid-arthritis
  14. UF Health: University of Florida Health [Internet]. University of Florida; c2017. Antinuclear antibody panel: Overview [updated 2017 Nov 17; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ufhealth.org/antinuclear-antibody-panel
  15. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Antinuclear Antibody [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=antinuclear_antibodies
  16. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2017. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA): Results [updated 2016 Oct 31; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 8 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/antinuclear-antibodies/hw2297.html#hw2323
  17. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2017. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA): Test Overview [updated 2016 Oct 31; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/antinuclear-antibodies/hw2297.html
  18. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2017. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA): Why It’s Done [updated 2016 Oct 31; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/antinuclear-antibodies/hw2297.html#hw2304

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Fibromuscular Dysplasia- Patient Experience, Struggles, and Living with FMD

Kari Ulrich, a patient with Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD), shares her story of struggles before and after being diagnosed with FMD in 2007. Kari reveals details of symptoms, treatments, lifestyle changes, living her life with FMD, and resources available for patients to obtain more information about this often misdiagnosed disease.

More information is available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fibromuscular-dysplasia/DS01101

Learn more about the Medical side of FMD with Dr. Rooke here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9QTpvP_sYg

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Living as a Gallbladder Cancer Survivor

 

For some people with gallbladder cancer,
treatment can remove or destroy the cancer. The end of treatment can be both stressful and exciting. You may be relieved to finish treatment, yet it’s hard not to worry about cancer coming back. This is very common if you’ve had cancer.

For other people, the cancer might never go away completely. Some people may get regular treatment with chemotherapy or other treatments to try and help keep the cancer in check. Learning to live with cancer that doesn’t go away can be difficult and very stressful.

Life after cancer means returning to some familiar things and also making some new choices.

Follow-up care

After you have completed treatment, your doctors will still want to watch you closely. It’s very important to go to all follow-up appointments. During these visits, your doctors will ask about symptoms, and do physical exams, and may order blood tests or imaging tests, like CT scans.

If you’ve had surgery and have no signs of cancer remaining, many doctors recommend follow-up with imaging tests about every 6 months for at least the first 2 years, but not all doctors follow this same schedule. Follow-up is needed to check for cancer that has come back or spread. It’s also needed to check for possible side effects of certain treatments.

This is the time for you to ask your cancer care team any questions and discuss any concerns you might have.

Almost any cancer treatment can have side effects. Some may last for a few weeks to months, but others can last the rest of your life. Don’t hesitate to tell your cancer care team about any symptoms or side effects bothering you so they can help you manage them.

Ask your doctor for a survivorship care plan

Talk with your doctor about developing a survivorship care plan for you. This plan might include:

  • A suggested schedule for follow-up exams and tests
  • A schedule for other tests you might need in the future, such as early detection (screening) tests for other types of cancer, or tests to look for long-term health effects from your cancer or its treatment
  • A list of possible late- or long-term side effects from your treatment, including what to watch for and when you should contact your doctor
  • Diet and physical activity suggestions
  • Reminders to keep your appointments with your primary care provider (PCP), who will monitor your general health care

Keeping health insurance and copies of your medical records

Even after treatment, it’s very important to keep health insurance. Tests and doctor visits cost a lot, and even though no one wants to think of their cancer coming back, this could happen.

At some point after your cancer treatment, you might find yourself seeing a new doctor who doesn’t know about your medical history. It’s important to keep copies of your medical records to give your new doctor the details of your diagnosis and treatment. Learn more in Keeping Copies of Important Medical Records.

Can I lower my risk of gallbladder cancer progressing or coming back?

If you have (or have had) gallbladder cancer, you probably want to know if there are things you can do that might lower your risk of the cancer growing or coming back, such as exercising, eating a certain type of diet, or taking nutritional supplements. Unfortunately, it’s not yet clear if there are things you can do that will help.

Adopting healthy behaviors such as not smokingeating wellgetting regular physical activity, and staying at a healthy weight might help, but no one knows for sure. Still, we do know that these types of changes can have positive effects on your health that can extend beyond your risk of gallbladder cancer or other cancers.

About dietary supplements

So far, no dietary supplements (including vitamins, minerals, and herbal products) have been shown to clearly help lower the risk of gallbladder cancer progressing or coming back. This doesn’t mean that no supplements will help, but it’s important to know that none have been proven to do so.

Dietary supplements are not regulated like medicines in the United States – they do not have to be proven effective (or even safe) before being sold, although there are limits on what they’re allowed to claim they can do. If you’re thinking about taking any type of nutritional supplement, talk to your health care team. They can help you decide which ones you can use safely while avoiding those that might be harmful.

If the cancer comes back

If the cancer does recur at some point, your treatment options will depend on where the cancer is located, what treatments you’ve had before, and your overall health. For more information on how recurrent gallbladder cancer is treated, see Treatment Options Based on the Extent of Gallbladder Cancer.

For more general information on recurrence, you may want to see Understanding Recurrence.

Getting emotional support

Some amount of feeling depressed, anxious, or worried is normal when cancer is a part of your life. Some people are affected more than others. But everyone can benefit from help and support from other people, whether friends and family, religious groups, support groups, professional counselors, or others. Learn more in Life After Cancer.

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New Blood Pressure Guidelines: What you Need to Know

 

Understanding your blood pressure reading

Making sense of your blood pressure reading can be tricky, but we’ve broken it down to help you better understand what the numbers mean.

A blood pressure reading involves two numbers, one over the other. For example, a reading might be presented as 120/80.

Systolic pressure, the top number, is the pressure on the arteries when the heart beats and pumps blood.

Diastolic pressure, the bottom number, is the pressure on the arteries in between heartbeats.

Although both systolic and diastolic measures are important, research has found that systolic pressure is a strong predictor of heart problems caused by high blood pressure, especially among older adults. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80.

New blood pressure guidelines

In late 2017, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology announced updated high blood pressure guidelines. The new guidelines are based, in part, on research carried out and funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at NIH.

Under the updated AHA/ACC guidelines, if you have systolic blood pressure rates of 130 and higher you are considered to have high blood pressure. The old guidelines set high blood pressure rates at 140 or higher.

These new guidelines were informed by a number of clinical studies that showed that lifestyle changes can help high-risk individuals reduce their blood pressure—and may ultimately save lives.

Those changes include heart-healthy diets, weight loss, and exercise as key first steps in reaching a lower blood pressure target.

One study that helped inform the guidelines was the SPRINT (Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention) trial, which was supported by NHLBI.

SPRINT studied 9,300 adults, aged 50 and older, at risk for heart disease from around the U.S. It showed that achieving a lower blood pressure goal of 120 mm Hg (instead of 140) reduced the rate of heart events by about 25 percent and the overall risk of death by 27 percent.

Talk to your health care provider

You can measure your blood pressure at home with a monitor and in your health care provider’s office. Some people have higher blood pressure readings at the doctor’s office due to the stress that appointments can create. It’s known as “white coat hypertension.”

Be sure to talk to your health care provider about your blood pressure reading and any follow-up steps you need to take.

SOURCE: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Blood Pressure Reading Opens new window

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Inside Your Bones

Take a look inside your bones, and learn how they give you support.

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Wearing a Scoliosis Brace: Anna’s Experience – Pediatric Orthopedic Surgery

Treated with scoliosis bracing, Anna has successfully completed brace treatment. She describes her experience while wearing the brace and gives helpful advice to other patients requiring treatment for spinal curvature. To request an appointment, visit: http://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/childrens-center/overview/appointments?mc_id=us&utm_source=youtube&utm_medium=sm&utm_content=video&utm_campaign=mayoclinic&geo=national&placementsite=enterprise&cauid=100504

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From the lab – Bringing Prosthetic Hands to Life

 

NIH is improving prosthetic, or artificial, limbs so that they can work better and feel more natural to patients.

Using vibrations and a complex, computerized interface between patients’ brains and limbs, the team of researchers was able to trick the patients’ brains into moving their prosthetic hands.

In the small group of patients with limb loss, a surgeon redirected the nerves for the missing part of the limb—in this case, nerves for the hand and fingers—to other remaining muscles. When the subject tries to move their amputated limb, the reconnected muscle contracts. Those signals can then be connected to a computer to drive the motion of bionic hands.

The motion-sensing bionic arm and hands coordinate more naturally and fully with the brain by vibrating near the muscles, which creates sensations that help control the prosthesis.

The research study was funded in part by NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and the NIH Director’s Transformative Research Award. The award supports projects that are often risky and untested but have the potential to lead to major research findings.

“Decades of research have shown that muscles need to sense movement to work properly. This system basically hacks the neural circuits behind that system,” says James W. Gnadt, Ph.D., of NINDS. “This approach takes the field of prosthetic medicine to a new level, which we hope will improve the lives of many.”

SOURCES: NIH Research Matters: Improving Control of Bionic Prosthetic Hands; opens in new window National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Bionic Limb opens in new window

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Cowan Concert Finale – Mayo Clinic

At the end of their Feb. 24, 2010 performance at Mayo Clinic, Marlow and Fran Cowan reprised the number that they performed in Sept. 2008, which has been viewed several million times on YouTube and led to their appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America. See the original video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI-l0tK8Ok0

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10-Minute Sport Yoga Routine

You won’t need to sacrifice your busy day for this yoga routine. If you have just 10 minutes, you can complete this gentle sport yoga flow.

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Tips for Staying Healthy and Safe this Summer

 

MedlinePlus and NIH offer lots of information online to help. We’ve summarized some helpful highlights to get you started.

Sun Exposure and Your Skin

Too much time in the sun is linked to everything from sunburns to heat illness, long-term skin damage, and skin cancer.

You can’t see the sun’s UV (or ultraviolet) rays but they contain a form of radiation that passes through your skin and can damage your skin cells.

If possible, stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest. If you do need to go out in the sun, take steps to be safe. Use and reapply a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher and wear UV-protective sunglasses and clothing.

Also, keep an eye out for skin moles or spots that change color, which could be a sign of cancer. Contact your health care provider immediately if you think you may have a cancerous mole.

SOURCE: MedlinePlus: Sun Exposure

Poison Ivy, Oak, & Sumac

Ouch! Poison ivy, oak, and sumac are types of plants with sap or oil that many of us are sensitive to. When our skin touches the sap, it can create itchy rashes and blisters. The rash often doesn’t often start until 12 to 72 hours after contact.

To avoid rashes, try to recognize and stay away from poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Be cautious when you hike or spend time in heavily wooded areas.

If you come in contact with one of these plants, wash your skin with soap right away. If you do get a rash, your pharmacist may recommend over-the-counter medicines to help with itching. Luckily, rashes are not contagious.

If your rash is severe or you notice swelling, contact a health care provider immediately, as that can be a sign of a serious reaction.

SOURCES: MedlinePlus: Poison Ivy, Oak, and Red Sumac; American Academy of Dermatology: Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac Opens new window

Dehydration

Our bodies are 90 percent water, so it’s no surprise we need a lot of it to keep going each day. In fact, the average person needs three quarts of water daily to function well.

But when we’re exercising, sweating, or spending time in the sun, we may need more liquid.

Without enough hydration and electrolytes, we can become dehydrated. Signs of dehydration are feeling thirsty, having dark-colored urine, feeling faint or dizzy, and having to urinate less.

If you think you may be dehydrated, try to drink small amounts water over a period of time to prevent throwing up.

Electrolytes—minerals in our bodies that help balance the amount of water—are key to avoiding dehydration. Sports drinks (without caffeine) with electrolytes may help if you have an imbalance.

SOURCES: MedlinePlus: Dehydration; MedlinePlus: Electrolytes

Insect Bites and Stings

At one point or another, you’ve probably experienced a not-so-fun bug bite or sting.

Mosquito and flea bites usually itch. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings and fire ant bites usually hurt.

In general, bug bites and stings are uncomfortable but not life-threatening. However, if you know you are allergic to any insects, like bees or wasps, keep an emergency epinephrine kit handy.

Ticks are usually harmless, but a bite from an infected blacklegged deer tick can lead to Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that can cause serious health problems if left untreated. Some early symptoms include fever and chills, headache, joint and muscle pain, and a bull’s eye rash where the tick bit you. After spending time outdoors where there may be ticks, make sure to check yourself, family members, and your pets. If you think you may have Lyme disease, seek medical help immediately.

For mild itching or discomfort from other bug bites or stings, over-the-counter antihistamines, anti-itch creams, and ibuprofen and acetaminophen may help.

To avoid bug bites and stings, use insect repellent according to label instructions, be careful when performing activities outside, wear protective clothing (like long pants or sleeves), and avoid heavily scented soaps and perfumes.

SOURCES: MedlinePlus: Insect Bites and Stings; Food and Drug Administration: Beware of Bug Bites and Stings; Opens new window National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: Lyme Disease Opens new window

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