The immune system of the body produces antibodies that fight unnecessary invaders and keeps the human body healthy. However, the system goes wrong sometimes and results in incorrectly misidentifying a person’s tissue as a threat and start to attack it. Lupus is an autoimmune condition – this means that the immune system attacks the cells of the body.
A doctor can usually test for the presence of antinuclear autoantibodies (ANAs) in the blood. A person is more likely to have an autoimmune disease if ANAs are present in their blood. During a diagnosis, the doctor would consider the result of the tests and other factors such as the medical history of the person and other symptoms they are suffering that is affecting them.
ANA Blood Test
An ANA blood test measures the level of ANAs present in the blood, and a positive result can most often point to an autoimmune condition in the person.
What are ANAs?
ANAs are antibodies that cause the immune system of the body to attack the nuclei or other processing centers of the cells and tissues of a person’s body. These antibodies are proteins that often instruct the immune cells of the body to target and attack the foreign particles and cells.
The immune system cells of our body mostly react to antibodies which allow them to differentiate between particles of the body and the particles that are foreign to it which may cause harm. Antibodies that have the potential for triggering the immune system to attack the cells and tissues of its own are called autoantibodies. These are often regarded as the basis of autoimmune diseases.
ANAs generally cause the immune system to attack the nucleus which is where its genetic material is present. Patients having high levels of ANAs in their bodies are likely to develop autoimmune conditions which are often regarded as ANA-associated rheumatic diseases by doctors. They mostly include lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, systematic sclerosis, mixed connective tissue disease, and Raynaud’s phenomenon.
Lupus and ANA Blood Test
Lupus is a condition that is much more common in women than in men. Conducting an ANA test can help give a positive result in people who suffer from this condition. A negative result during an ANA test is often a confirmation that a person does not have lupus.