What is a positive antinuclear antibody in fibromyalgia?


Quick Answer

A positive antinuclear antibody test indicates the presence of antibodies that may attack the patient's own body, a result with a tenuous link to fibromyalgia, says WebMD. Antinuclear antibodies suggest a possible autoimmune disease, but no current studies confirm a conclusive link between fibromyalgia and autoimmune diseases.

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Antibodies are the body's natural defense against illness and infection by recognizing foreign proteins and enlisting the body's cells to fight the invader, says the American College of Rheumatology. Sometimes, antibodies mistakenly attack the body's own proteins. These antibodies are called antinuclear antibodies, and their presence in the blood, in large quantities, is a possible indication of an autoimmune disease.

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes muscle and joint pain across many body regions and leads to fatigue and depression, says WebMD. There are many potential causes for fibromyalgia, including heredity, physical and mental stress, and infections, but there is no conclusive evidence of an exact cause, notes Mayo Clinic. It is likely that continuous stimulus of the nerves of fibromyalgia patients causes an overproduction of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to increased sensitivity to pain. While fibromyalgia itself is probably not an autoimmune disease, certain infections can exacerbate symptoms. If this is the case, there could be a possible link between elevated antinuclear antibody levels and fibromyalgia flare-ups, says WebMD.

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