Does Double-Stranded DNA Mean You Have Lupus?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

I recently had an ANA test and the results were 1:640 homogenous. Symptoms of tingling face, arms, extreme fatigue and muscle weakness. Should I contact a rheumatologist? Also, I had a double stranded DNA test two years ago, it was negative. Could this change, and does that test confirm SLE?

Doctor's response

Antinuclear antibodies (ANA), are used by doctors as screening tests to detect the possible presence of an autoimmune condition. They may or may not necessarily be associated with such a condition. If your doctor is satisfied that your ANA has helped his/her adequately to evaluate your particular health status, then no other evaluations that may be required.

Rheumatologists are experts at searching for conditions that can be associated with ANAs.

Double-stranded DNA (ds - DNA) test values fluctuate and may become negative over time.

System Lupus Erythematosus is diagnosed primary based on the presence of multiple standard criteria - only one of which is the ds-DNA.

For more information, please read our full medical articles about Antinuclear Antibody Test and Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018
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