Medical Q&As

ANF positive - significance?

I have recently undergone a series of blood tests one of which showed up positive for Anti Nuclear Factor. Could you explain to me what this means and how it affects me?

ANF (Anti Nuclear Factor) is an antibody and a positive test simply means that the antibody is present in your blood. The presence of the antibody is not diagnostic of any particular condition. Its presence simply raises a number of possibilities. A positive test raises the possibility of lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, auto-immune disease of the thyroid gland, Sjögrenís syndrome and certain liver disorders. The test can also be positive in association with glandular fever and bacterial endocarditis. Medication can also cause a positive ANF result. Many people with a positive ANF are perfectly healthy and have no evidence of any disease. Therefore the significance of a positive test result can only be interpreted in the context of an overall assessment of a personís medical history, clinical findings and other test results.