Antinuclear antibody panel

What is an Antinuclear Antibody Panel?

An antinuclear antibody panel, sometimes referred to as an ANA test, is a set of tests used to screen for antibodies that are present in the body as a result of autoimmune diseases. When these antibodies are present, it can indicate that the person may be suffering from an autoimmune disorder. A sample of blood is typically taken and examined by a laboratory for signs of ANAs.

Preparation for an ANA test

No special preparation is typically required for an ANA test, although it is recommended that the patient be well hydrated and have an empty stomach prior to the test. The patient should also inform the doctor about any medications he or she is taking.

Procedure of an ANA test

The procedure for an ANA test is relatively straightforward. A sample of blood will usually be taken from the patient and sent to a laboratory where it will be tested for the presence of ANAs. If any are detected, further testing may be necessary in order to determine which autoimmune disorder, if any, the patient may have.

Types of Autoimmune Diseases Detected by the ANA Test

An ANA test is used to detect a wide variety of autoimmune diseases, including but not limited to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), scleroderma, polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and rheumatoid arthritis. It can also be used to monitor patients who have already been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder in order to track their progress.

Risks of the ANA Test

There are no significant risks associated with having an ANA test. However, as with any medical procedure, there may be some discomfort or pain associated with having blood drawn.

Why is an ANA Test Done?

An ANA test is typically done in order to screen for autoimmune diseases. It is particularly useful for diagnosing diseases such as lupus, which can be difficult to diagnose. The test is also useful for monitoring people who have already been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder.

When is an ANA Test Ordered?

An ANA test is typically ordered when symptoms suggest that the patient may be suffering from an autoimmune disorder. These symptoms may include fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes, and fever. The doctor may also order the test if the patient has a family history of autoimmune diseases or if the patient has other medical conditions that can be caused by an autoimmune disorder.