Re: test results
ems44, hello & welcome. I'm just a patient, so please take my words as ideas for questions to ask your drs., meaning not as answers.
There are permanent info posts ("sticky posts") at the top of the thread list. In one, you'll find the diagnostic criteria for systemic lupus. They're complex and layered because there's no single finding that proves lupus. To be dx'ed with the systemic form, SLE, generally you must meet 4 or more. These may be met over time, not necessarily simultaneously.
ANA is only a threshold test. It suggests the immune system is mistakenly manufacturing *some kind* of antibodies directed against one's own cell matter. When ANA is positive, drs. do *more specific* tests to see WHICH autoantibodies are being created, then they consider the diseases to which those more specific findings correlate.
Anti-DNA is one of just two specific autoantibodies thought to correlate highly to lupus; the other is anti-Sm. (Others are seen as correlating but less strongly.) A positive result means your immune system is mistakenly creating antibodies against DNA in your cells. You could ask how strong your result is, meaning weakly positive, highly positive, etc.
In your shoes, my next step would be to discuss your findings with a rheumatologist, because that's the specialty best versed in lupus. Also discuss all your symptoms & which *other* criteria you may meet. Also, ask if the OTHER usual tests were run (like standard bloodwork, urinalysis, etc.) Plus,I'd read a lot (the sticky posts have suggestions).
The #1 thing to know right now: if it DOES turn out to be lupus, treatment is certainly available! The goal is to quell production of autoantibodies & to stay subacute (no major organ involvement). Many people do reasonably well with proper treatment & sometimes lifestyle changes. Anyway, I hope this gives you a head start. Post when you can, OK? Warm wishes to you, Vee P.S. HANG IN THERE!!!