Your Anti-Nuclear Antibody Level

What Causes Elevated Anti-Nuclear Antibody ANA Level?

Elevated anti-nuclear antibody ANA level can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'serious' to 'very serious'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose elevated anti-nuclear antibody ANA level, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "elevated anti-nuclear antibody ANA level" as a symptom.  Here are three possibilities:
  • Sjogren's Syndrome
  • Lupus (SLE)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
very dry eyes
constant fatigue
recent onset neck pain
history of shingles
history of postviral syndrome
severe fatigue after slight exertion
regular infections
high sensitivity to bright light
major unexplained weight loss
occasional unexplained fevers
chest pain when breathing
occasional mouth ulcers
... and more than 30 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of elevated anti-nuclear antibody ANA level:
Cause Probability Status
Sjogren's Syndrome 99% Confirm
Lupus (SLE) 23% Unlikely
Rheumatoid Arthritis 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having had recent lab tests, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA). Unit: Titre
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ Under 1:40 (normal)
→ 1:40 to 1:100
→ 1:101 to 1:500
→ Over 1:500
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate normal ANA levels, mildly elevated ANA levels, elevated ANA levels or highly elevated ANA levels, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Lupus, SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythromatosis)

Any value less than 40 is considered a normal ANA level and called a negative test result.  Normal levels of ANA virtually rule out active SLE.  [Med Clin North Am 81(1): pp.113-28, Jan.  1997]