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Antinuclear Antibodies: About This Test

What is it?

An antinuclear antibody (ANA) test is a type of blood test. It measures the amount of certain types of autoantibodies in the blood. Autoantibodies are types of antibodies that target and react to your own body (called an autoimmune reaction).

Why is this test done?

An ANA test is done to help identify problems with the immune system, such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lupus.
  • Polymyositis.
  • Scleroderma.
  • Sjögren's syndrome.

How do you prepare for the test?

In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you to.

How is the test done?

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

How long does the test take?

The test will take several minutes.

What happens after the test?

  • You will probably be able to go home right away.
  • You can go back to your usual activities right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to keep a list of the medicines you take. Ask your doctor when you can expect to have your test results.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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