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An ANA blood test (antinuclear antibody test) is usually performed as part of the diagnostic process for certain autoimmune diseases.

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Antibodies are proteins that your immune system produces. They assist your body in recognizing and fighting infections. Antibodies normally target harmful substances such as bacteria and viruses by activating the immune system in order to eliminate them.

Antibodies can mistakenly target healthy cells and tissues. This is referred to as an autoimmune response. Antinuclear antibodies are antibodies that attack healthy proteins within the nucleus, the control center of your cells (ANAs).

Autoimmune diseases such as lupus, scleroderma, mixed connective tissue disease, autoimmune hepatitis, and others can develop when the body receives signals to attack itself. Symptoms differ depending on the disease, but they may include rashes, swelling, arthritis, or fatigue.

Some ANAs are normal, but having too many of these proteins indicates an active autoimmune disease. An ANA panel can help you determine the amount of ANAs in your blood.

If the level is high, you may have an autoimmune disorder, although infections, cancer, and other medical conditions can all result in a positive ANA test also.

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