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Judy, hello & welcome. My understanding of ANA is exactly what GoldenWings posted. Since she covered that aspect, I'll take up another one, the ACR criteria for diagnosing systemic lupus. There's a "sticky post" ( = permanent info post) at the top of the thread list containing these.

These ACR criteria are tricky. You must meet at least 4 of the 11, at some time (meaning not necessarily all at once), to support a Dx of SLE ([B][U]systemic[/U][/B] lupus). A positive ANA fulfills only ONE criteria.

Also, there are other, typically milder kinds of lupus, referred to as "variants" or "subsets", for which you may meet fewer than 4 criteria. These are DLE (discoid lupus erythematosus), SCLE (subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus), DILE (when drugs induced a lupuslike illness that tends to reverse when the offending drug is withdrawn), and neonatal (when anti-Ro autoantibodies cross the placenta & affect a newborn).

There are several excellent lupus hardcovers in most libraries that cover the subject comprehensively. Dr. Daniel Wallace is one author you could look for, and Dr. Robert Lahita is another. They both cover all manner of things seen in lupus, which, FYI, extend far, FAR beyond the ACR criteria.

So, to get back to YOU... Now that you've seen some high-level layers of info, do you have things going on IN ADDITION TO a positive ANA that might suggest lupus as at least one of the possibilities? I hope you post more when you can. While we're just patients here, many of us are pretty good at helping think up questions for you to ask your doctors. Bye, Vee

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