The anti SSA blood test is one of the testing methods that is available to medical providers to determine the presence of lupus. The SSA antibody is usually found with the SSB antibody, which means there is typically an anti SSB blood test ordered with the anti SSA test. It is not a specific enough test to determine a definitive diagnosis in a majority of patients, but it can be used with other tools and tests to determine if lupus is present.
What Are the Symptoms of Lupus?
The problem with lupus is that it can improve at certain times and even seem like it has gone into remission, but at other times get worse very quickly. The signs and symptoms of lupus may be very different for each individual, but in general, high levels of fatigue, a low-temperature fever, and severe joint pain with skin rashes are quite common. This rash may appear on the face or on the body.
Enlarged lymph nodes may be noticed and there could be sores in the mouth, throat, or nose. Some people experience confusion and seizures in severe instances. There may also be a sensitivity to the cold in an individuals toes, fingers, and other extremities. The skin may also become extremely sensitive to the sun and there may be chest pain when taking a deep breath. Some people may also experience bald patches or hair loss over areas of their body.
Contact emergency services if chest pain does not go away, gets worse, or is felt along an arm or in the lower back. This may be an indication that a heart attack has occurred.
How Accurate Is the Anti SSA Blood Test?
Anti SSA can be found in up to 60% of people who are confirmed to have lupus. In some regions, however, only 1 in 4 people with lupus will have a positive test result for this antibody. Another condition, called Sjorgen’s syndrome, is also known to produce positive test results in up to 70% of people. For this reason, additional tests may be ordered if a positive test result occurs in order to create a diagnosis.
As with other antibody tests, a negative test doesn’t necessarily indicate that there isn’t lupus present either. There are many people who have been known to have lupus and not have a positive anti SSA test result.
How Is Lupus Treated?
Depending on the results of the anti SSA blood test and other tests that may have been ordered, the severity of lupus will be considered when developing a treatment plan to address the condition. One of the most important steps that can be taken is to reduce the levels of daily stress that are experienced. There isn’t a cure for lupus, but certain lifestyle changes and action taken to prevent organ damage can help to prolong life and get symptoms under control.
Inflammation is a major concern with lupus. This is experienced the most in the knees, fingers, and wrists, but can happen to any joint in the body. Over the counter medications to control inflammation, such as ibuprofen, are usually considered helpful. Taking too many of them, however, can irritate the stomach and potentially cause bleeding, so be sure to take any pain relievers with milk or food.
Certain drugs that are used to treat malaria have also been found to be helpful with lupus. This is especially true for those who may have a high risk for blood clots. Corticosteroids are often part of the treatment plan as well because they help to weaken the immune system.
Lupus Can Be Effectively Managed
Coping with a lupus diagnosis thanks to results from the anti SSA blood test and others can be difficult. There may be problems sleeping or concentrating that create feelings of grief or anxiety. The outward effects of the disease can be emotionally difficult as can then questions of “Why me?” that inevitable are asked. Pain and fatigue often make it difficult to fully enjoy the things that were once part of a daily routine. Some people with lupus wind up having to leave their job.
The first thing to go with lupus is usually a person’s social activities. This is because some days there just doesn’t seem like enough energy to even make it through the day. It can become difficult to manage family relationships as well.
The most important thing to do is to ask for help if you believe it is needed. This can be the most difficult component of a lupus diagnosis. It is often viewed as a failure to find the help that is needed, but the opposite is actually true. The anti SSA blood test is just one step toward finding a helpful solution. If you’ve received a positive test result, then schedule an appointment with a medical provider to discuss what options are available to you.