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ANA IFA is a first line screen for detecting the presence of up to approximately 150 autoantibodies in various autoimmune diseases. A positive ANA IFA result is suggestive of autoimmune disease and reflexes to titer and pattern. Further laboratory testing may be considered if clinically indicated.

Antinuclear antibodies (ANA) are auto-antibodies against nuclear components, including double and single stranded DNA and histones. These antibodies can be detected with an ANA test. In this technique, a fluorescent-labeled immunoglobulin is used to detect immunoglobulin in the patient's serum against nuclear components. 

ANAs can be present in various situations. Your healthcare provider doesn’t use an ANA test to diagnose an autoimmune disorder. But they can use the results of an ANA test to help determine what kind of disease you may have. Autoimmune diseases that can cause a positive ANA result include:

→ Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): SLE (lupus) is an inflammatory disease. It causes joint pain, fever, weakness, fatigue, skin rashes and organ damage.

→ Scleroderma: Scleroderma is a rare disease that causes abnormal thickening and hardening of your skin and tissues. It can also affect your gastrointestinal tract, lungs, kidneys, heart, blood vessels, muscles and joints.

→ Polymyositis: Polymyositis is a disease of your muscles that causes inflammation and weakness. It usually affects the muscles closest to your trunk.

→ Dermatomyositis: Dermatomyositis occurs when people have disease features of polymyositis and also skin involvement such as a scaly rash, swelling and purple spots.

Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD): MCTD shares features with SLE, scleroderma and polymyositis. Usually, the symptoms of these diseases don’t occur at the same time. Rather, they occur one after the other over a long period of time.

→ Sjögren’s syndrome: Sjögren’s syndrome is a condition that reduces the amount of moisture produced by the glands in your eyes and mouth. Your immune system damages the tear system in your eyes and the salivary glands in your mouth.

If you have lupus and are taking an immunosuppressant, your healthcare provider may order frequent laboratory tests to track the effectiveness of the medication. But they typically won’t repeat or use the ANA as a marker of disease activity.

Additional notes:

ANA Screen A and ANA Screen B are not distinct markers or tests in the context of antinuclear antibody (ANA) testing. ANA testing involves detecting antibodies that target components within the cell nucleus, which can indicate autoimmune disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or other connective tissue diseases. The ANA test is used to assess the presence and pattern of these antibodies. Various medical institutions may use different terminologies or panels for ANA testing, but there is no specific ANA Screen A or ANA Screen B. Instead, ANA testing typically involves examining the reactivity of antibodies against a range of nuclear antigens, yielding patterns that aid in diagnosis. It's important to consult with healthcare professionals for accurate information and interpretation of ANA test results.

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