The presence of 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.
Some infectious diseases and cancers have been associated with the development of antinuclear antibodies, as have certain drugs.
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.