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Old 09-25-2011, 10:28 AM   #1
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AbuTarek HB User
Question Am I Sick? Positive ANA test, I don't have answers.

About 4 years ago I had a problem with my eye and two knees at the same time. My eye turned red, kept tearing and hurt badly in light. I was told by Dr that it was a precursor he thought to rheumatoid arthritis possibly.

I have been experiencing weakness in my hands and severe lower back pain that comes and goes just as suddenly. My hands have no grip at times and I can barely hold a pen.

I did a nerve conduction test and my nerves are getting weak and I have muscle loss in my hands and the nerve Dr was concerned and said I need an ANA test I told him about the xray showing severe degeneration of my lower discs in my lower back. I got the results of an ANA test a half hour later I had done one weeks before.

It came back positive 1:160.
Am I sick? RF factor was negative.
I have an appointment with a rheumatologist tomorrow morning.
What do I expect and am I sick?

 
Old 09-26-2011, 12:41 PM   #2
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backster HB Userbackster HB User
Re: Am I Sick?Positive ANA test I don't have answers.

Hi Abu Tarek!
You're on the right track. Getting a diagnosis can take a long time, but seeing the Rheumatologist is a good step. In order to expedite a diagnosis you must be proactive and prepared.
Before your appointment tomorrow take the time today to write down EVERY medication, vitamin, herb, over the counter medications, you have been taking. Include the doses.
Go through your medical history with a fine tooth comb. Try to remember dates of onset of any kind of symptom you have had and write a chronological history. Include any tests that you have had, injuries, illnesses, hospitalizations, name of hospital and Dr. who treated you. They'll want to know your family health issues as well. If you have any medical records bring them with you.
Write down a list of all of your questions. Trust me - when you get there you'll forget about half of what you wanted to ask the Doctor.
I've been through this my entire life. T his will be extremely helpful for both you and your Dr. Keep a copy for yourself and put it in a file for safe keeping. You'll most likely need it again for any other Dr. you get referred to.

An ANA number like yours is something to get checked out by a Rheumatologist, but is not a definitive positive test on its own without accompanying symptoms. There are multiple reasons for elevated ANA. Your Rheumatologist will take more tests. You will have a bit of blood drawn and have a urinalysis, so drink some water before you go. The first apointment usually takes a while to complete with a thorough exam. Your Dr. will need to review your new tests and then compare them with your last ones. The ANA levels change depending on your health status. When you're feeling great it may be in a normal range. Different labs also have differing parameters of "normal", so it's important to keep going to the same lab once you're established with you Dr.
Don't get frustrated. It may take some time and your Dr. probably won't tell you much at first, and don't expect a diagnosis - expect more tests.
I've also had the nerve conduction test twice - not fun.
I also have a severely degenerated spine, including 14 discs. Your lower discs wouldn't have anything to do with your upper body weakness. I would think you would be having an MRI on your spine, at least for the cervical area to rule out any disc issues in your neck.
I wouldn't worry about Rheumatoid Arthritis with a negative RF. Let's just hope this is a simple fix. You'll go in prepared tomorrow. Between appointments keep a diary of your symptoms and medications daily, and any questions for the next appointment.
Hope this helps. Let us know how you're doing.
Good Luck - Jane

 
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:29 PM   #3
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AbuTarek HB User
Re: Am I Sick?Positive ANA test I don't have answers.

I went today to my appointment. The rheumatologist ordered a lot more bloodwork and xrays of my back and hands. But that's it I thought he said MRI but didn't give me one. I go back next week. He said let's not assume it's Lupus which was scary because I guess that must mean I have some symptoms that lead to that. I am going to stay positive and hope for best. I am a 41 year old male with a 3 year old daughter and a 1 year old boy and a wonderful wife and they need me.

 
Old 09-29-2011, 07:35 PM   #4
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Re: Am I Sick?Positive ANA test I don't have answers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbuTarek View Post
I went today to my appointment. The rheumatologist ordered a lot more bloodwork and xrays of my back and hands. But that's it I thought he said MRI but didn't give me one. I go back next week. He said let's not assume it's Lupus which was scary because I guess that must mean I have some symptoms that lead to that. I am going to stay positive and hope for best. I am a 41 year old male with a 3 year old daughter and a 1 year old boy and a wonderful wife and they need me.
That's what I assumed he would have said. I know how easy it is to get all worked up when you hear the Dr. even mention the possibility of having Lupus. I was absolutely terrified. I too had a 3 year old daughter and was scared for her future. There are so many symptoms that can be associated with Lupus, but in order to be diagnosed you have to have at least 4 of the specified 11 symptoms.
You mentioned that your Dr. said something about an MRI. Be proactive and call to see if they are scheduling one for you. Don't ever be afraid to ask your Dr. questions or call for clarification. You can get overwhelmed at the Dr.s office and walk out without half the information you wanted. Sometimes it takes a while for the insurance to approve an MRI, but with your symptoms I'd be surprised if you weren't going to be scheduled for one. Piece of cake!
Keep up the faith and stay positive.
Keep in touch!

 
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