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Positive ANA, is it lupus?

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Old 06-21-2013, 02:52 PM   #1
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Positive ANA, is it lupus?

I have been having joint and bone pain, severe fatigue and vertigo for a few months now so my Dr. did some tests. My ANA came back positive, it was speckled 1:160. Does this indicate Lupus?
My Dr. originally thought lyme as my lyme titer came back positive but then the confirmation tests for lyme were negative and ruled that out.
I can't get in to see a rheumatologist for over a month and I am a bit worried and really sick of feeling sick. I want my life back and want to figure out what this is.
Other things that make me think lupus are that I have reynauds symptoms in my fingers in the winter. My fingers get very wrinkly, cold and painful and I have to sit with a heating pad on them most nights. I read people with lupus often have reynauds.
The only other test that came back positive was that I had a trace amount of blood in my urine.
The tests for RA were negative and my joints are not swollen or red.
What else besides lupus can cause a positive speckled ANA?

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Old 06-23-2013, 03:16 AM   #2
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Re: Positive ANA, is it lupus?

Hi and welcome. I think speckled is the most common ANA pattern but also the least specific. It's seen in lupus but also in "close cousins" like Mixed Connective Tissue disease (MCTD), Sjogren's syndrome, Scleroderma---and possibly others, too (I'm not sure).

While ANA of 1:160 is definitely elevated, it's not crazy-high. But the bigger point is that ANA alone isn't diagnostic of anything, as it can elevate in a number of conditions (rheumatological & others, too), or even due to a passing virus or infection.

UTI's, stones, etc. can also cause trace blood in urine. Did you ask for a copy of the full report, to check bacteria levels, etc?

Lupus is diagnosed by various symptoms and labs. There are five "sticky posts" (permanent info posts) above the thread list. One contains 11 criteria. Generally (but not always), you must meet 4 or more to sustain a diagnosis of systemic lupus. These don't have to be met simultaneously, btw: they may be met over time. The dr. will porbably take a full lifetime medical history and run additional labs for more specific auto-antibodies, like anti-ds-DNA, anti-Sm, anti-RNP, anti-Ro, anti-La, etc. (There are a bunch possible in lupus.)

Thyroid disorders (like Hashimoto's thyroiditis) can also cause some very similar symptoms. Were your thyroid levels also checked?

But if this does turn out to be lupus---and I hope it doesn't---the good news is that in many patients, lupus can kept relatively mild & spare major organs. The goal of therapy is to stop the production of damaging auto-antibodies. I've taken Plaquenil (one of the mildest meds) for 10+ years; it's been a huge help with no real side effects. Unfortunately many of us must avoid sun, but I eventually saw that as a small price to pay for feeling so much better... not to mention that your skin will thank you.

Before I was dx'ed, I borrowed library books on lupus. Rather than scaring me, they helped me see that if I did have lupus, it was likely on the mild side, because so many issues discussed were clearly not applicable. My fave was a hardcover that discussed lupus and its "close cousins" (MCTD, etc.), and explained how they are differentiated from one another. Anyway... I hope this is somehow useful & that you stay in touch. Drop a post anytime, OK? Sending my best wishes, sincerely, Vee

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