An ANA test is done on a sample of a person's blood. The test determines the strength of the antibodies by measuring how many times the person's blood must be diluted to get a sample that is free of antibodies.
Does a Positive ANA Test Mean That I Have Lupus?
Not necessarily. The antinuclear antibody (ANA) test is positive in most people who have lupus, but it also may be positive in many people who are healthy or have another autoimmune disease. Therefore, a positive ANA test alone is not adequate for the diagnosis of lupus. There must be at least three additional clinical features from the list of 11 features for the diagnosis to be made.
How Is Lupus Treated?
The type of lupus treatment prescribed will depend on several factors, including the person's age, type of drugs he or she is taking, overall health, medical history, and location and severity of disease.
Because lupus is a condition that can change over time and is not always predictable, a critical part of good care includes periodic visits with a knowledgeable, accessible doctor, such as a rheumatologist.
Some people with mild features of the disease do not require treatment, while people with serious involvement (such as kidney complications) may require powerful medications. Drugs used to treat lupus include:
What Is the Outlook for People With Lupus?
The outlook for lupus varies, depending on the organs involved and the severity of symptoms. The disease often includes periods of symptoms followed by periods of remission or lack of symptoms. Most people with lupus can expect to have a normal lifespan, especially if they follow their doctor's instructions and their treatment plans.
What Can Be Done to Improve Quality of Life?
There is no cure for lupus, but there are steps you can take to improve your sense of well-being and your quality of life, including:
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