The autoimmune diseases are a challenge with diagnosis because you may have one person with a positive blood test and zero clinical signs and no evidence of inflammation while another might show signs of disease
The diagnosis is based on a combination of findings that add to a concrete conclusion It is very true that we do NOT advise jumping to conclusions based on only one test ...
Confirmation of a diagnosis say of scleroderma would require clinical features of disease ...abnormal screening tests such as ANA ...usually any active autoimmune disease shows elevated inflammatory markers such as sed rate and C- reactive protein. ..
Specific type antibodies are part of making many such diagnoses
In the case of scleroderma a skin biopsy would likely be needed. ..
So also with an autoimmune disease such as lupus there is a combination of findings that adds up to such diagnosis ...evidence of inflammation ( also in lupus often some blood and protein in urine )
So I agree that the positive ANA calls for closer watch over time but by itself does not lead to a diagnosis ...it is one piece of a complex puzzle
Many people will have a positive ANA and never have trouble. The titer level may change over time as well. ..
I hope that this information is helpful.Let me know if you have further questions or concerns I will be happy to get back with you.If my answers have been helpful and to your satisfaction then please remember to leave positive feedback Thank you and Best Regards,
Anthony Bray MD