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Positive ANA and low IgA

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Old 12-06-2011, 10:06 PM   #1
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Question Positive ANA and low IgA

Hello all, this is my first time posting on this board, having just discovered it earlier today. (And yes, I already wrote this out once and then lost it, somewhere in the ether! That won't happen again!) I'm an active 54 year old woman with lots of joint pain that has seemed to me to be more chronic and sever than I would expect given my age and general health. Back, knees, hips, feet, wrists, hands, and what feels like a lot so related muscle pain. It has always been diagnosed as osteoarthritis, but x-rays/CT's don't really show arthritis that would explain the level of pain I have. I have never thought I had a particularly low pain threshold, so I believe the pain I have is real. It's not especially disabling, but it does prevent me from being as active as I would like (and as I was, within the last couple of years), and it is a constant in my life, although I generally try to soldier on in spite of it. Several months ago, my cast iron stomach was no longer so cast iron, to the extent that I went to the doctor. She did tests (food allergy profile, celiac--both negative) and determined that I have irritable bowel syndrome. Then two months ago, the joint pain became enough of an issue that I went in again (to my internal medicine doc), and she did some "arthritis testing". After a few days, the office called and said everything was normal, and it must be osteoarthritis, and basically I would just have to learn to live with it. Today, I decided I just couldn't live with it, and I self-referred to a rheumatologist, and got an appointment in January. I went over and picked up my labwork, and I found that there were several lab values that aren't really "normal" at all. The IgA is slightly low, at 71 (with a range of 82-463), and ANA is positive at 1:160, with speckled pattern. Nothing else appeared to be outside of normal range. I would guess that these numbers/results aren't anything too dramatic, but given that I am having symptoms, I don't think they're anything to ignore, either.
Does any of this sound familiar to anyone? Am I just a nervous Nelly, or is this something worth following up on? Believe me, I'm not looking for something to be wrong...but if there's something going on that could be treated, I'm all over that!
Thanks in advance...

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Old 12-08-2011, 10:33 AM   #2
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Re: Positive ANA and low IgA

ANA results can be positive due to age, a passing virus, and family, without signifying disease. It is one of the diagnostic tools used for identifying autoimmune diseases. Your titre may be positive but depending on the rheumy, low enough to be considered not significant. That being said, there are many AI disease in which ANA is not positive, or can vary in titre. Plus symptoms can be very vague at first and continue to worsen over time, or stay very vague and not worsen. This is why AI diseases take so long to diagnose, oftimes. Of course, I'm just a patient, but that has been my observation. A rheumy appointment is indeed probably a good course of action, given your symptoms and labs, just to be thorough and making use of an expert. Good luck and Happy Holidays!

Old 12-09-2011, 06:08 AM   #3
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Re: Positive ANA and low IgA

Agree with previous post regarding ANA - wait until you see the rheumy.

IgA deficiency, and your's isn't low enough to be called this, but it can possibly cause IBS. IgA affects mucous membranes: ear, nose, throat, lungs, gut. You can read about IgA deficiency if you search it on the web. I have this, mine is close to zero but I do not have gut issues. Honestly you don't need to worry about this as yours is SO close to normal and it goes up and down a little on its own. Good luck in your search.

Old 12-29-2011, 04:07 PM   #4
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eClaire06 HB User
Re: Positive ANA and low IgA

I've been waiting to post a reply, since I was able to get into the rheumatologist sooner than planned (yes, I really DID get called for a cancellation!), and had my follow-up appointment today. The doctor said I don't have a "crippling arthritis", but that I do have a relatively mild form of inflammatory arthritis. There were a couple of labs she re-ran just to be sure, but it didn't sound too alarming. She did a bunch of x-rays and essentially ruled out osteoarthritis as the cause of my pain--x-rays didn't show a lot of degenerative changes, except in my neck (which is not the primary location of my pain). What's interesting to me is, my regular doctor did the lab work and ruled IN osteoarthritis, based on no dramatic elevations in lab values that generally indicate rheumatoid/inflammatory arthritis. But the rheumatologist looked at lots of other stuff and came to a different conclusion! Hopefully the correct one.... She was very thorough, and I'm hopeful. She did prescribe Plaquenil, presenting it as being a fairly benign intervention that could really help. Hope that is true, because I'm willing to give it a whirl.
Thanks for the replies, above. Really appreciated some reassurance/feedback!

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