View Full Version : How to read lupus tests
I'm Niki. New to the board! I'm writing because I've been somewhat ill for awhile without a diagnosis. I requested my results from the labs. Does anyone here know how to read blood tests?
The reference range was
Now mine was >140
Why didn't the laboratory write in the acutal number, or is it close to 140? How are these tests read
02-12-2003, 09:08 AM
Nink; I am not sure what tests your doctor's ran so I can't really answer what the numbers refer to. But here is some information that might help you, or at least you can ask your doctor about: SLE is an autoimmune disease with inflammatory joint pains, photosensitive rashes, oral ulcers and sometimes inflammation of organs such as the kidney and the brain. 90% - 95% of Lupus patients have a positive anti-nuclear antibody (ANA). Many of these patients also have other antibodies detected in their blood (antiphospholipid antibodies, anti-Ro, anti-SSA). The ANA test is the best diagnotistc test currently available for SLE, but a positive ANA by itself is not diagnostic of lupus. The ANA test reports include a titer (or strength) of the antibody. The titer indicates how many times your blood must be diluted to get a sample free of anti-nuclear antibodies. A titer of 1:640 shows a greater concentration of anti-nuclear antibodies than with a titer of 1:320 or 1:160. The titer is always highest in people with Lupus. Patients with active Lupus have ANA tests that are very high in titer!
Lab tests that measure the complement levels in the blood are also used (complement is a blood protien that, with antibodies, destroys bacteria). It is an "amplifier" of immune activity or function. If your blood complement level is low (or the C3 or C4 complement values are low) and you have a positive ANA, you may get a diagnosis of Lupus. Low C3 and C4 complement levels with positive ANA could also indicate lupus kidney disease.
Tests of antigen antibody reactions are also used in the diagnosis of Lupus. These include anti-DNA antibody tests, the anti-Sm antibody test, the anti-RNP antibody test, the anti-Ro antibody test and tests that measure the serum complement levels.
Your doctors may also perform skin biopsies and kidney biopsies.
Ask your doctor what tests do the numbers refer to, then you will be better able to understand the numbers. Perhaps what I have written will help you to ask questions about the tests and the numbers!
Best of Luck - Take care of yourself!
Peace and Blessings
02-12-2003, 08:27 PM
when blood work is ran if it is negative or less than 140 they do not assign a number to it. When it gets above normal range is when they assign a number to it. It is really not worthy to place a number on it when it is neg. hope this helps
THanks for your help. I also got a test for RF and it was 32, is this within normal range?
According to some sources it isn't
Thanks for your help
02-14-2003, 04:33 AM
Nink...Hi and welcome to the board....one of the biggest probelms facing both the patient and the doctor is the inability to get a true reading from any tests.
In other words you may come up posotive for Lupus yet you may not have it and visa versa.
It is for these reasons that doctors usually perform the tests more than once to get a basleline.
ALos alot of times the docs will look at other things such as your thyroid, or the possibility of Raynauds Syndrome to enusre a CORRECT diagnosis.
AS long as you're seeing a Rheumotologist that is up to date with all treatments and tests concerning LUPUS you're in good hands.
Keep yourself stress free, well rested and hopefully things will turn out for the best.
Since your tests are putting you right at the YES and NO stage I would take that as good omen concerning the results of your bloodwork and look forward to the next tests to find out for sure.