ANTINUCLEAR ANTIBODY - Overview, Facts, Types, Symptomes...
ANTINUCLEAR ANTIBODY

ANTINUCLEAR ANTIBODY

The antinuclear antibody or ANA is a group of antibodies generated by the immune system which attacks the body’s tissues, specifically the nucleus of each cell. This substance is found in the blood and can be detected through the Antinuclear Antibody Test, determining if the body has an autoimmune disease.

Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system that help the body detect and fight infections. They target damaging substances like viruses and bacteria by stimulating the immune system to destroy them.

However, sometimes these antibodies unintentionally damage the body’s healthy cells and tissues. This event is known as the autoimmune response, where the antibodies turn into antinuclear antibodies.

TYPES

There are many types of autoimmune diseases. The common types of this condition may include the following:

  • Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Happens when the immune system targets and destroys the pancreas’ cells that produce insulin, which may lead to high blood sugar, causing damage in the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.
  • Multiple Sclerosis: It damages the protective layer that covers the nervous system’s nerve cells, slowing the transmission of messages between the brain and spinal cord to and from the rest of the body.
  • Addison’s Disease: It affects the adrenal glands that produce cortisol, aldosterone, and androgen hormones, which lead to the decrease of cortisol, affecting the body’s usage and storage of carbohydrates and sugar.
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: This disease causes the slowing down of the production of thyroid hormone, leading to deficiency.
  • Myasthenia Gravis: It affects the nerve responses that help the brain control the muscles, causing the communication from nerves to muscles to fail, which leads to the signals’ inability to direct the muscles to contract.

 

SYMPTOMS

Most autoimmune diseases have similar symptoms, such as:

  • Weariness
  • Muscle ache
  • Inflammation
  • Fever
  • Concentration problems
  • Numbness of the hands and feet
  • Hair loss
  • Rashes

Some diseases may have their symptoms, and others have symptoms that occur and diminish on their own.

DIAGNOSIS

To diagnose an autoimmune disease, a lab test called the ANA Test will be administered by a professional. A lab tech will get a sample of your blood and take it to the laboratory to observe if it contains antinuclear antibodies. 

A positive result on an ANA test signals that antinuclear antibodies are present in the blood. Although a positive result may not always mean that you have a disease, the physician may order further tests to confirm your diagnosis, especially if you have the symptoms. 

 

TREATMENT

As of today, there are no specific treatments that can cure autoimmune diseases. However, there are certain interventions provided by health care practitioners to control the overactive immune process, maintain the body’s ability to fight disease, and reduce symptoms such as pain, fatigue, rashes, and inflammation.

This kind of medication includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and immune-suppressing drugs.

The treatments in this kind of condition may vary depending on the type of autoimmune disease and their symptoms. They may include supplements, blood transfusions, and physical therapies.

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