What Diseases can be Associated with a Positive Antinuclear Antibody Test?
The antinuclear antibody test (ANA test) is a blood test that is recommended by doctors to identify the autoantibodies in the blood of an individual. These autoantibodies can attack the cells of a human being and can damage muscles, skin, joints, and various other parts of the human body. Doctors may recommend a person perform an ANA test if he or she is suffering from autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus.
The immune system of a human being plays a vital role in leading a disease-free life. The human immune system develops antibodies or proteins that can detect harmful pathogens, infectious organisms, or toxins that can help eliminate these pathogens and hence, prevent many infections. However, in some rare cases, the immune system develops antibodies against its own tissues and cells, particularly targeting the nucleus. Such antibodies are known as antinuclear antibodies. Doctors generally recommend persons to undergo antinuclear antibody (ANA) testing if they are suffering from autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, the most common type of lupus, Sjogren's syndrome, or scleroderma.
With the increasing prevalence of autoimmune diseases all across the world, the global antinuclear antibody test market is predicted to witness prominent growth in the approaching years. The market is anticipated to generate a revenue of $4,999.40 million and grow at a CAGR of 14.97% during the estimated timeframe from 2022 to 2031. The major players in the market include Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific, Erba Diagnostics, Trinity Biotech Plc., Antibodies Incorporated, and many more.
What is Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) Testing Used for?
There exist many situations when antinuclear antibodies can be present in the human body. Through ANA testing it becomes easy for doctors to determine what kind of disease a human may have. Some of the diseases that can cause a positive ANA result are discussed below:
- Scleroderma: It is a rare disease that causes unnatural thickening and hardening of the human body’s skins and tissues. This disease can also affect the gastrointestinal tract, heart, blood vessels, muscles and joints, lungs, and kidneys of the human body.
- Dermatomyositis: This disease is mainly related to skin. It occurs when people experience a scaly rash, swelling, or purple spots on their skin.
- Polymyositis: This is a disease of muscles that can cause inflammation and weakness. In the disease, the muscles closest to the human’s trunk are mostly affected.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): It is an inflammatory disease that can cause joint pain, weakness, fever, fatigue, skin rashes, and organ damage.
- Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD): The symptoms of this disease are quite similar to polymyositis, SLE, and scleroderma. The symptoms of this disease don’t occur at the same time, however, they occur one after the other over a period of time.
- Sjögren’s syndrome: It is a health condition that occurs in the human body that reduces the amount of moisture produced by the glands in human’s eyes and mouth. In such conditions, the immune system of the human body damages the tear system in the eyes and the salivary glands in the mouth.
When do you Need to Perform an Antinuclear Antibody Test?
The healthcare professional may tell you to perform an ANA test when you have some symptoms of autoimmune diseases which may include:
- Butterfly-shaped red rash
- Joint stiffness and swelling
- Muscle pain
- Numbness and tingling in your feet and hands
- Hair loss
- Light sensitivity
- Persistent and recurring fever
What are the Risk Factors Associated with the Antinuclear Antibody Test?
According to healthcare professionals, the very negligible risk associated with an antinuclear antibody test. As this test involves blood sampling from the vein, the patient may experience a little bit of dizziness or fainting, minor bruising, or pain at the spot where the needle was inserted. Since a little amount of blood is drawn during this process, patients will not feel exhausted after the blood tests and most of the symptoms vanish within a couple of hours after the blood test.
How to Prepare for the Antinuclear Antibody Test?
The antinuclear antibody test is similar to any blood test that requires a blood sample. Therefore, one can normally eat or drink before giving the blood sample for the ANA test. However, in some instances, doctors may also recommend some other tests which an individual may require to fast before providing the blood sample. One should discuss with the doctor the requirements before giving his blood sample and must also provide medical history and current medications if any.
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