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The immunofluorescent anti-nuclear antibody (ANA, or FANA): a test to determine if autoantibodies to cell nuclei are present in the blood.

An ANA is not conclusive on its own.

There is no one test that can definitely say whether a person has lupus or not, there are many laboratory tests which aid the physician in making a lupus diagnosis. It takes a qualified physician as using it as a tool in combination with the other indicators to make a diagnosis.

ANA reports include a titer (number) and a pattern.

Titer tells how many times the technician had to dilute

plasma from the patient's blood to get a sample free of anti-

nuclear antibodies. Each dilution involves doubling the

amount of test fluid.

The test can even be weakly positive in about 20% of

healthy individuals. While a few of these healthy people

may eventually develop lupus symptoms, the majority will

never develop any signs of lupus or related conditions. The

chances of a person having a positive ANA test also

increases as he or she ages.

So a titer of 1:640 shows a greater concentration of anti-

nuclear antibodies than a titer of 1:320 or 1:160. A titer

ABOVE 1:80 is usually considered positive. 1:80 normal

and 1:160 borderline in most laboratory test.

The ANA titers go up and down during the course of 

disease, and a high or low titer does not necessarily mean

the disease is more or less active. So, it is not always

possible to determine the severity of disease from

ANA titer.

The homogeneous (smooth) pattern is found in a variety

of connective tissue diseases (...A heterogeneous group of

diseases characterized by abnormal structure. In general

terms tissues that may be more or less specialized. Cartilage

and bone are specialized connective tissue, as is blood,

but often the ter is  reserved for the less specialized tissue

that is rich in extracellular matrix (collagen, proteoglycan

etc.) and that surrounds other more highly ordered tissues

and organs - the rheumatic diseases. See MiLady's Knight's

Construction FAQ's for more information on rheumatic

diseases.) as well as in patients taking particular drugs.

The speckled pattern is found in SLE and other

connective tissue diseases, while the peripheral (or rim)

pattern is found almost exclusively in SLE.

The nucleolar (a pattern with a few large spots) pattern

is found primarily in patients who have scleroderma.

From iVillageHealth Library

University of Newcastle upon Tyne Medical Dictionary

Connective Tissue Disease or CTD can be is a heterogeneous

group of diseases characterized by abnormal structure.   In

general terms, tissues which may be more or less specialized.

Cartilage and bone are specialized connective tissue, as is

blood, but the term here is reserved for the less specialized

tissue that is rich in extracellular matrix (collagen,

proteoglycan etc.) and that surrounds other more highly

ordered tissues and organs - the rheumatic diseases. See

MiLady's Knight's Construction FAQ's for more

information on rheumatic diseases).

scleroderma actually means hardening of the skin.

Systemic Scleroderma is chronic and progressive,

characterized by hardening and immobility of the affected

skin, with involvement, especially of lungs, esophagus,

kidneys and heart.

University of Newcastle upon Tyne Medical Dictionary

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