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What could cause a positive ANA test without any typical symptoms of lupus?

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Posted on Fri, 17 Aug 2018
Question: My sister tested positive for Ana anti nuclear ...she does not have the typical symptoms of lupus .. she does get tired and some knee joint pain.. all her inflammatory markers were great c reative at 3.2 esr was low at 11 rheumatoid at less than 14.. all of her other blood work looks excellent except for a cholesterol level a little elevated.. could you get a false positive on this what other tests does she need to rule out auto immune diseases? She feels fine but has hormonal issues hot fllashes..the doctor did the test because she was not feeling well Mainly because of hormonal issues .. she is 60 years old. Thanks so much!
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Answered by Dr. Divya Agarwal (2 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Yes it's possible

Detailed Answer:
Hello and Welcome to ‘Ask A Doctor’ service.

Yes, it's definitely possible to get a false positive result especially if the titres of the test are low if checked by immunofluorescence.

This test is not a screening test for autoimmune disorders,in fact it corroborate s our diagnosis in case it is strongly suspected in a particular patient.

Do i feel you can rest assured that she does not have any major illness.

If required you can check ANA by immunofluorescence if not already done.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
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Follow up: Dr. Divya Agarwal (1 hour later)
Did you state that you can rest assure that she does not have any serious disease? How do I find out her titers? The test only stated positive result. Are there several test for Ana..she said the doctor wanted her to take the test again and take some other reflex test? The fact that the other inflammatory test are good is that a good sign it may be a false positive? Does it indicate cancer? Would other inflammatory markers be up as well? Thanks so much!!!
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Answered by Dr. Divya Agarwal (43 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Yes take the immunofluorescence and reflex test

Detailed Answer:
Yes, I suggest take the immunofluorescence and reflex test.
She does not seem to have any serious disease.

She doesn't have cancer based on this result.

Titers will be available with the immunofluorescence test.

Regards.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Nagamani Ng
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Answered by
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Dr. Divya Agarwal

Rheumatologist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 659 Questions

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What could cause a positive ANA test without any typical symptoms of lupus?

Brief Answer: Yes it's possible Detailed Answer: Hello and Welcome to ‘Ask A Doctor’ service. Yes, it's definitely possible to get a false positive result especially if the titres of the test are low if checked by immunofluorescence. This test is not a screening test for autoimmune disorders,in fact it corroborate s our diagnosis in case it is strongly suspected in a particular patient. Do i feel you can rest assured that she does not have any major illness. If required you can check ANA by immunofluorescence if not already done. Regards.