Pls. help! Really Confused.
Hi to all,
I just had my first appointment to my Rheumy and told me I don't have a lupus or any auto immune disease?! I am not on any immunosuppressants or any drugs. Although, I'm anemic, frequently mouth ulcers, vitiligo and hair loss . Anyway, I talked to my Rheumyyesterday and the ANA came back positive at 1:180. he explained that there are lots of people who come back positive and it never develops into Lupus or any auto immune disease. But he never run any more bloodwork he just checked me physically and said I'm perfectly fine. My question is does it means I don't have Lupus? Do I need anymore test just to make sure? If yes, what test do I need to do? Thank you.
ANA testing is a confusing issue, but your doctor is right that many people can have a positive ANA without any underlying disease. A positive test in and of itself does not mean you have lupus or an other autoimmune illness. People with a family history of autoimmune disease can have elevated ANA levels even with they are healthy. An ANA of 1:160, while positive, is not extremely high. ANA results are confusing because it is generally reported as a titer, which refers to the number of dilutions of the blood sample. Above 1:40 is considered weakly positive, but you have to remember that the titer goes up arithmatically - 40, 80, 160, 320, 640, 1280, etc., and some rheumatologists don't consider it significant until it reaches 640 or higher.
You can have a positive ANA in many conditions besides lupus, including vitilago, thyroid disease, pernicious anemia, RA, viral or bacterial infections, sjogrens syndrome and a long list of others. People over age 60 and people taking certain blood pressure medicines can also have high ANA levels for no reason.
If your doctors have not determined a cause for your anemia, you should probably have additional tests to find out. In women who still have menstrual cycles, the most common cause of anemia is iron deficiency - your doctor can diagnose iron deficiency anemia with blood tests. Anemia can also cause hair loss and sores on the tongue and in the mouth, also fatigue, dizziness and fainting, pale complexion, headache, shortness of breath, etc. which can be similar to some symptoms of lupus, so the hair loss and mouth sores may be related to your anemia.
Sorry this explanation is a bit confusing - but you definitely need to folloow up with your doctor about the cause of your anemia.