Here is what Johns Hopkins (Maryland, USA) has to say about
a positive ANA.
"A positive ANA result means that you have a higher than normal concentration of these antibodies. This is one of the tools in diagnosing lupus as well as several other autoimmune diseases, so a positive result may be related to lupus or to another disease. Or you may simply have a higher than normal concentration of these auto-antibodies that may not have any impact on your health.
Even among people with lupus, ANA results can vary widely; one person can be in remission at a certain titer of ANA while another can be extremely ill at the same titer. Autoimmune diseases often have a systemic effect on the body and are very complex by nature. Your healthcare provider will interpret what the test results mean for you and may need to compare your test results as well as the severity of your symptoms over a period of time in order to make a definitive diagnosis."
A positive ANA doesn't have to mean ANYTHING AT ALL! It does NOT mean you have a diagnosis of ANYTHING.
Typically, four or more of the following eleven criteria must be present to make a diagnosis of Systemic Lupus.
1. Malar rash: butterfly-shaped rash across cheeks and nose
2. Discoid (skin) rash: raised red patches
3. Photosensitivity: skin rash as result of unusual reaction to sunlight
4. Mouth or nose ulcers: usually painless
5. Arthritis (nonerosive) in two or more joints, along with tenderness, swelling, or effusion. With nonerosive arthritis, the bones around joints don’t get destroyed.
6. Cardio-pulmonary involvement: inflammation of the lining around the heart (pericarditis) and/or lungs (pleuritis)
7. Neurologic disorder: seizures and/or psychosis
8. Renal (kidney) disorder: excessive protein in the urine, or cellular casts in the urine
9. Hematologic (blood) disorder: hemolytic anemia, low white blood cell count, or low platelet count
10. Immunologic disorder: antibodies to double stranded DNA, antibodies to Sm, or antibodies to cardiolipin
11. Antinuclear antibodies (ANA): a positive test in the absence of drugs known to induce it.
Take it easy, stay in the moment, and make an appointment with a rheumatologist to allay your fears.
Lynnwood, Lupus & Sjogren's Moderator, Dx: 2000DIAGNOSING LUPUS & HW's LUPUS 101
"Life is far too important to be taken seriously." - Oscar Wilde