The presence of any antinuclear antibodies is a positive test result. But having a positive result doesn't mean you have a disease. Many people with no disease have positive ANA tests — particularly women older than 65.

Mononucleosis is one type of infection that has been associated with the development of antinuclear antibodies. Some blood pressure lowering drugs and certain anti-seizure medications may trigger antinuclear antibody formation as well.

If your doctor suspects you have an autoimmune disease, he or she is likely to order a number of tests. The result of your ANA test is one piece of information your doctor can use to help determine the cause of your signs and symptoms.

Aug. 31, 2011