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  • ANA Positive Speckled Pattern

    Hey all I actually just stumbled upon this forum by chance. I'm 21, female, 157cm, 49kg. I went to my GP last week because I have been feeling tired all the time and have no energy (this has been going on for over 2 years now.) I've seen a few doctors but nothing ever seemed to be wrong. Anyway, last week I had multiple blood tests for electrolytes, urea, liver, CBC, iron, Glucose, all tests came back fine except for my ANA which is Positive speckled pattern (1:640). I have been referred to a medical physician and my appointment is in 6 weeks time.

    Mild hair loss (not bald patches, but my hair has been thinning out since about the age of 10)
    Very frequent headaches

    I realize these symptoms and positive ANA can be attributed to other conditions, but I thought this may be a good place to start and get some good advice from people who have maybe had similar experiences. I hope my upcoming appointment will shed some light on why I've been feeling terrible for so long.

    There is no family history of any autoimmune disease in my family.


  • #2
    Also I'm a little confused about my ANA result. is it slightly high, moderately high?



    • #3
      Hiya Tay... your ANA certainly warrants further investigation. Mine was the same level as yours but a positive ANA doesn't automatically mean an auto immune disease...though most auto immune disease does have a positive ANA if that makes sense...though 2% lupus or suchlike suffers have all their bloodwork its a complicated disease and needs careful consideration by a Rheumy who knows what they are doing before diagnosis can be made...take one step at a time, make a daily diary of symptoms and pain grade them 0-10 and also photograph any visible symptoms to take to any appointments with you as we can look very well, which can prevent the Drs realising how bad you feel and how it can be for us. Take one step at a time and I hope you find some answers very soon...wish you well, Claire


      • #4
        Hello TayTay --

        Your blood work COULD indicate lupus, but your physician may want to get further labs before making that decision (especially a dsDNA test amongst others). A rheumatologist would be the doctor most experienced with autoimmune problems, though some have more experience with lupus than others. I think a speckled pattern also points to lupus. However, everything, including your symptoms needs to be taken into account by the doctor before a conclusion can be made.

        Headaches can accompany all sorts of diagnoses, but you may want to read about APS(Hughes Syndrome) on the main Lupus Site to see whether you might have other symptoms of this. Antibodies for this can be tested for too.

        Claire has given you great advice about the journal and photos. It will help you clarify your issues when you get to the doctor, and this can help with such elusive diagnoses like autoimmune problems. It would also help for you to create a brief medical history for your doctor. They often find this very helpful!

        Please ask any other questions you may have. The members here are very supportive and the information on the main Lupus Site is very useful.

        Nice to meet you!



        • #5
          Thanks everyone for your input

          I don't know if this could be related, but when I was 8, one night, all of a sudden I got sick, really dark circles appeared under my eyes (which I still have today), my face swelled up and I developed a rash that was kind of like a heat rash. My father took me to the after hours clinic but they didn't know what was wrong. Since then I've had the same rash that would develop at night but would have faded by the next day. I don't get it as often any more. Ever since high school I've had almost daily headaches and constant tiredness that doesn't go away with sleep, although I've always found it difficult to get to sleep at night (takes at least 2-3 hours to doze off). I wonder if these symptoms could be connected? I've been complaining to my previous doctor for years, but each time he just tells me to do more exercise, take vitamins etc. I have since changed doctors upon my mother's advice. I've been to see him only once complaining of tiredness and he ordered a whole variety of tests including the ANA.

          So I see a specialist in 6 weeks (not a rheumatologist though). Should I tell him about all these symptoms, or only what I told my doctor (fatigue)? I don't want to sound like a hypochondriac! Also what tests is he likely to run? On my ANA report it states that titres in the range of 1:160-1:640 are only significant in patients with family history of SLE or other autoimmune disorders (which I don't have), and that Anti-dsDNA and ENA tests should be ordered only if the patient has clinical signs of SLE. My doctor noted this on the referral letter 'No fhx of AI disease and clinical exam did not reveal any unusual stigmata of the SLE'

          I know it's wrong to think like this, but I'm secretly hoping they find something so these symptoms will go away. I'm sick of feeling like this all the time.

          Thanks again for all the great advice x
          Last edited by TayTay; 03-25-2011, 01:13 PM.


          • #6
            Hiya Tay... I wonder which specialist you are seeing then as it is the Rheumatologists that deal with anything auto immune and even amongst them it can be difficult to find one who knows what they are doing....sadly!!! Anybody stating that ana is only significant in family history doesn't know their onions quite frankly...the genetic link is only considered to be around the 10% mark and any bloodwork used in combination with other factors is potentially significant or they wouldn't bother doing them... I have no family history , although I am hypothyroid. It can be a difficult journey to get the answers, but auto immune or not you know your body isn't feeling right; I would jot down all the symptoms whether you think them significant or not and have a spare copy or printed sheet for the Rheumy, hilighting the top probs at the moment so they don't get swamped with symptoms but can mull it over later..that way you won't forget to mention them and they will have a recorded copy of them to refer back to...appointments can be rushed and things missed....keep asking any questions, just hope we can help you along a bit...take care, Claire


            • #7
              Ah just realised you said you have been referred to a 'medical physician'....they hopefully will refer you on to a Rheumatologist if needed....I live in hope!:hehe:


              • #8
                Hi Tay and welcome to the lupus site.

                Yes, lists all your symptoms. You never know that one symptom you left out might be the missing puzzle piece. You do not have to have all the symptoms at the same time.



                • #9
                  Hi again Tay!

                  Please do this for yourself and give a copy to the doctor: list your medical history as far back as you can remember until today. Keep it brief (or only give a brief version to the doctor and keep a more detailed version for yourself). Make sure all the symptoms you have had over your life (esp. those that have never been diagnosed as part of something else) have been included.

                  Personally, I had hemolytic anemia at age 5, which resolved after a year. Then I had no more symptoms of lupus until I was 32. I was ultimately diagnosed at age 41. My rheumy said that the hemolytic anemia was likely my first symptom of lupus and it was important for my diagnosis.

                  So Lyn is right that not everything has to be going on right now to be important for a diagnosis. A history of certain things makes a difference.

                  Also, all my doctors have been VERY thankful to have a concise summary of my conditions and meds.



                  • #10
                    Thanks everyone for all the help and great advice. I will definitely compile a list of my symptoms, both current and previous for the doctor. My appointment isn't for another 6 weeks, so I'm gonna stay away from this site and stop over thinking everything, otherwise I'm gonna drive myself crazy! I'll be sure to come back and update when I get some answers be it good or bad news.

                    Thanks again everyone and God Bless


                    • #11
                      I think staying away from here is a very sensible idea! Of course I can't say whether you have lupus or not, or what your very vague symptoms could indicate, but an ANA on its own however high would not lead to a lupus diagnosis. Rheumatologists deal with connective tissue disease of all sorts, acquired, congenital, infectious, autoimmune - they do not deal with all autoimmune diseases.
                      On my ANA report it states that titres in the range of 1:160-1:640 are only significant in patients with family history of SLE or other autoimmune disorders (which I don't have), and that Anti-dsDNA and ENA tests should be ordered only if the patient has clinical signs of SLE. My doctor noted this on the referral letter 'No fhx of AI disease and clinical exam did not reveal any unusual stigmata of the SLE'
                      As Monica has said the lab comment about ANA and family history is wrong. However, among those groups of well people with abnormal blood work are the close relatives of those with diagnosed lupus and closely related autoimmune connective tissue diseases. Nobody in my family has had an AI disease of any sort.
                      I don't know if this applies to any other autoimmune diseases, not connective tissue ones, in which blood work is significant for diagnosis. If indeed there are any.

                      I am wondering what on earth the GP meant by the un/usual 'stigmata'. I suppose he must mean skin symptoms. I have never seen this particular use of 'stigmata' before. The usual term for any abnormal skin is 'lesions'. I suppose I will never know. Skin lupus is not all that common in SLE presentation - 20%-30% is the usual figure quoted, although it is about 70% in the course of the illness. It is very handy for diagnosis, being one of only four specifics.

                      Last edited by Clare.T; 03-26-2011, 10:19 AM. Reason: Titivate


                      • #12
                        My personal non medical opinion is that an ANA of 1:640 merits further investigation. This might mean simply retesting in case it was a mistake or a fluke, but it would be much better to get the full lupus antibody panel done as well as a urine test. Sometimes eliminating other possibilities is an essential part of diagnosis.



                        • #13
                          You have been given great advice here.
                          I do hope moving forward you have a successful appointment and get some answers.
                          Good Luck and keep us posted.


                          • #14
                            Claire docs sued 'stigmata' quite frequently, in that case they mean any identifying mark or characteristic of the particular disease in question, physical or mental, can by skin related or any other symptom. In this case it could have been malar rash, swollen joints etc.

                            TayTay I think you are right in staying away form the sight, it can become quite addictive, there is so much to learn. But that is not always a good thing, especially when you do not have a diagnosis, sometimes you can become fixated on a disease and you are sure you have it. Sometimes, for very vague symptoms it can take a very long time for diagnosis, or there might not be a specific diagnosis and instead it might be down to environmental changes or something else entirely.

                            I hope you get answers though.

                            Cally x