I'm Confused As To What This Blood Test Is For. I Was Recently Switched To A Woman Rheumy In The Same Hospital, And I Saw Her Yesterday. I Have A Very Big Folder, And Was Diagnosed 1997. She Said To Me, So You "think" You Have Lupus? I Almost Fell Off The Chair. I Said, No I Know I Have Lupus And Was Diagnosed In '97.....
So She Looked At My Last Labs From Last Month. And She Mentioned The Double Stranded Dna Thing, And That It's Positive, Or The Numbers Are High, I Forget What She Said. She Mentioned That All Along That Particular Test Is Always Positive (or High In Numbers) In My Blood Work.
So Now I'm Thinking, Okay, So She Did Look Over My Folder? She Mentioned That It Is Usually Not A Good Thing, But Things Seem To Be Okay With Me. She Noticed Markings On My Hands From Little Cuts Or Bruises That Don't Go Away. Which I Thought Was Weird Too. So, I Guess My Question Is What Is A Double Stranded Anti Dna Test, And What Does It Usually Mean?? She Sent Me For More Labs And I'll See Her Again In A Month. They Will Absolutely Not Give Me Any Pain Meds Other Than Nsaids......but She Mentioned That Once I Get Down To 5mg Of Prednisone, If Things Flare, She'll Have To Start Me On Something Along With It, And Probably Methotrexate. And They Have Side Affects. Fine. But Why Put Me Through The Torture Of Side Effects From A Chemo Drug Instead Of A Pain Killer! Oh I'm So Frustrated. I Have Several Docs. I Also Have Migraines, Osteoporosis (i'm 35yrs Old, And Not Pre Menopausal), Pericarditis (rare Now That I'm On Prednisone), Degenerative Arthritis, Christmas Disease (factor 12 Deficiency In My Blood), Mitral Valve Prolapse (is That A Heart Murmur?), Severe Swelling And Pain When Not On Prednisone. There Are Other Things I Have Such As Difficulty With Concentration, Loss Of Memory....i Hate It. I Feel Like I'm 85yrs Old!! And I'm 92 Pounds! How Can That Possibly Be! I've Been On The Prednisone For Over 2 Years! I Have 2 Kids To Take Care Of Single Mom......on Ssi, Or Disability. I Can't Figure Out The Difference Of The Two. I Am On So Many Meds, And All My Docs Are In The Same Health Care Alliance, And None Of Them Share Notes With Each Other, Or Converse With Each Other! I Just Don't Get It. My Neurologist Wants Me Off Of Fioricet Because It Can Be Habit Forming, Fine. Whatever, So She Gave Me Indocin. Pharmacy Tells Me I Cant Take That With Naproxen. So I Call The Neuro Back, They Say, Yes You Can, Just Make Sure It's A Few Hours In Between. Then I Saw My Primary For A Virus And He Told Me Absolutely Not To Take Them Both. I Had Taken 1 For A Massive Excruciating Migraine, And It Made It Worse~ Then The New Rhuemy Tells Me Yesterday That Indocin Is Not For Migraines. Whatever! I'm Tired Of Going Back And Forth And Back And Forth!! I See My Neuro Friday. I'm Going To Try The Bio-feedback, Which Is Basically Mind Over Matter. I've Had Migraines Since The Age Of 2 Or 3 Yrs Old, That's My First Memory Of A Migraine And Being Sick To Death With A Pounding Head And My Mother Trying To Make Me Eat A Sandwich. Help???
The Following User Says Thank You to Kimberlyn7 For This Useful Post:
Hi, Kimberlyn. I'll try to keep this short & simple, if there IS such a thing in this disease. Yell if it doesn't make enough sense, OK?
In lupus, the immune system mistakenly churns out UNWANTED antibodies that attack our own bodies. These are called "autoantibodies". There are quite a few possible---one writer lists 16 in his lupus hardcover. The names usually (not always) start with the prefix "anti".
One such autoantibody is anti-ds-DNA. It targets (mistakenly) the DNA in our cells, which can cause great damage to major organs like kidney, central nervous system (brain, etc.), heart, and lungs, to name a few.
It sounds as though your new rheumie wants to reduce Prednisone in order to try you on something as effective but with fewer potential serious side effects.
The rheumie/author Dr. Wallace writes, "Prednisone is a blessing and a curse." It can have tremendous downsides: heart palpitations, rapid pulse, sleeplessness, skin wrinkling & thinning, hair loss, impaired wound healing, muscle weakness, loss of calcium in bones which causes osteoporosis, bone necrosis (death of bone matter), diabetes, obesity, confusion, psychotic behavior, ulcers, colon perforation, etc. And that's just the SHORT list!
Also, Prednisone is known to be unpredictable. A person can do well on it, then quite suddenly serious side effects erupt.
I've never taken Methotrexate, but I think others here have, so I hope they can explain better than I can why it's beneficial in lupus. Obviously, though, the goal of all the lupus therapies is to suppress this unwanted production of autoantibodies. Pain meds CANNOT do this; they only MASK pain, and can't get to the underlying disease process.
I hope this helps some, for starters, anyway. Sincerely, Vee
Just to answer a question you asked, I'm on methotrexate, as well as Plaquenil (for lupus), mobic (NSAID), and a host of others for various problems from the lupus, including heart among them.
We've had me on plaquenil since I was diagnosed and plan to continue it as long as necessary. It is a DMRD or Disease modifying rheumatoid drug. That didn't do the trick for all my symptoms, so we added the mobic (anti-inflammatory). When the symptoms were still unbearable, my rheumy added the methotrexate. I also use Ultracet every 4-6 hours as needed. When my back gets too bad from the degenerative mess that it is; I use vicodin and muscle relaxer (flexeril).
The metho is a immunorepressive drug used primarily for RA, but is used off-label for lupus as well. I've noticed a tremendous improvement in my joint and muscle pain since starting the methotrexate.
There are side effects: for me they have included fatigue for about 24 hrs after dosage, minor mouth sores, some slight hair thinning and an occasional bout of nausea.
My doc has me take it at night before bedtime thus reducing the chances of upset stomach since I sleep through it.
By the way, everything I've read about lupus and testing says that a high ds-dna reading USUALLY means a poorer prognosis. That is based on averages. But I'm sure that's what she meant.
I believe that Indocin is an anti-inflammatory med and it wouldn't help a migraine.
I hope I helped with some of your confusion and didn't make it worse! You sure do have a lot on your plate! Take care.
ps: My rheumy just called in another prescription for me to take that she says will slow down or halt the hair thinning. Yay! I already take folic acid to eliminate the nausea/vomiting.
Thanks Veej! Yes your reply was helpful. I think. I don't know. I'm still confused a bit. Why is it positive or high? The DS DNA.....?? That's what I'm confused about I guess. Because she said that it shouldn't be the way it is, but it's consistent in me. I need new doctors....I'm on SS, and they wouldn't give me medicaid, so I'm on free care with the hospital that ALL of my docs are at. I'm thinking maybe I should go into Boston, to Mass General, they have some of the best doc's there. Cambridge is right next door, which is where I go. Hmmmm......
Hi, again. Anti-ds-DNA is one of the two autoantibodies that really shout, "It's lupus!" (The other is anti-Sm.) If you test positive for it, it's pretty much a given that you have lupus.
Further, I *think* anti-ds-DNA levels improve (meaning decrease) when lupus is under good control. So if a rheumie sees high levels, she/he will probably re-evaluate meds, the question being, What meds might help more?
I hope people who've tested positive for this autoantibody, & thus know more, will post soon. Meanwhile, I send my best wishes to you! from Vee