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Home Knowledge Center Wellness Library Autoimmune Disease Tests

Autoimmune Disease Tests

Test Overview

Tests for autoimmune diseases measure the amount of certain antibodies in your blood. Your body makes antibodies to attack and destroy substances such as bacteria and viruses. But in autoimmune diseases, the antibodies attack and destroy your body's tissues. This can lead to diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and lupus. These health problems affect the connective tissues, such as the skin and joints, and blood vessels and other tissues.

Autoimmune tests may include anti-dsDNA, anti-RNP, anti-Smith (or anti-Sm), anti-Sjogren's SSA and SSB, anti-scleroderma or anti-Scl-70, anti-Jo-1, and anti-CCP. Antibody against cardiolipin also may be tested.

If you have several of these antibodies—or have them in high amounts—you may have an autoimmune disease.

You may have had an antinuclear antibody test, or ANA. This test is often done first to look for antibodies that can cause autoimmune problems. A rheumatoid factor test is also done to look for rheumatoid arthritis.

Your doctor will look at several things to decide if you have one of these conditions. He or she will look at your symptoms and the results of these and other tests.

Why It Is Done

Why It Is Done

These tests help your doctor see if you have an autoimmune disease, such as:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Lupus.
  • Sjögren's syndrome.
  • Scleroderma.
  • Polymyositis.

Your doctor may want you to have these tests if you have symptoms such as joint pain, muscle aches, and fever.

Your doctor will use these tests and your symptoms to see if you have a health problem.

How To Prepare

How To Prepare

In general, there's nothing you have to do before this test, unless your doctor tells you to.

How It Is Done

How It Is Done

A health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm.

How It Feels

How It Feels

When a blood sample is taken, you may feel nothing at all from the needle. Or you might feel a quick sting or pinch.

Risks

Risks

There is very little chance of having a problem from this test. When a blood sample is taken, a small bruise may form at the site.

Results

Results

A normal (negative) result means that antibodies for autoimmune diseases were not found. An abnormal (positive) result means that one or more of these antibodies were found.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.

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Related Links

Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) Test Rheumatoid Factor (RF) Test Medical Tests: Questions to Ask the Doctor

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