Find a Test

Antinuclear Antibody Test (ANA)

This is a test which helps to detect the presence of anti-nuclear antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are proteins produced by your immune system, in order to destroy substances which are recognized as foreign to the body. In this case, anti-nuclear antibodies are produced against the nucleus of the cells present in our body, meaning that your body has started to attack its own cells, which can lead various health problems.

The antinuclear antibody test is done to detect the presence of antibodies to the nucleus of our cells. This type of condition where the body has started to stack its own cells is called autoimmune diseases, and can manifest in many forms. The different types of autoimmune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

If your health care provider suspects that you may be having an autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, SLE, scleroderma or others, then you will be ordered to undergo this test. This is a common test for all autoimmune conditions, and does not tell you specifically which one you might having.

There are no special preparations that you have to make before you undergo this test.

During this, a Medical Lab Technician will draw out a small volume of blood, using a needle and syringe which is inserted into a vein in your arm. This blood sample is then sent to the lab for analysis.

Since this test is a simple drawing of blood, you will not feel a lot of discomfort. You might experience a mild pain on inserting the needle, but you will not experience any uneasiness afterwards.

There is very little risk in undergoing an ANA test, because it is a simple blood drawing. Very rarely you might continue to have a mild pain or some swelling at the site where the needle was inserted, but these symptoms will resolve on their own within a couple of days.

our test will show either a positive or negative result. If it’s negative it means that you don’t have any autoimmune condition. But if the test is positive, it can mean that you are suffering from any of the above mentioned autoimmune conditions, and you will have to undergo further testing to diagnose which specific condition it is.

Certain medication can play a role in altering the results of these tests. There can be occasions when healthy people have small amounts of ANA in their blood, and this can lead to false positives as well.