My Second Blog “I have a positive ANA, what’s that?” – this blog will discuss the foods I identified that created my autoimmune disease and what I did to create a path for my own cure!
After yet another visit to the doctor complaining of various symptoms such as: fatigue, stomach pain, bloating, hip, back and knee joint pain, muscle cramps, leg pain, low grade fever, constipation, color change in hands and feet, and random blisters on my back, neck and face the doctor decided to run a few blood tests.
A few days later I got a message saying my test results were available on MyChart, so I logged in to see my results. The test results all came back normal, expect for 1. I tested positive to ANA (Anti-nuclear antibodies).
The anti-nuclear antibody (ANA) test is used as a primary test to help evaluate a person for autoimmune disorders that affect many tissues and organs throughout the body (systemic) and is most often used as one of the tests to help diagnose systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
ANA are a group of autoantibodies produced by a person’s immune system when it fails to adequately distinguish between “self” and “nonself.” They target substances found in the nucleus of a cell and cause organ and tissue damage. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ana/tab/test/
After discussing this with the doctor he indicated a positive ANA means your body is attacking itself and thinks something in your body is foreign. Positive ANA is directly correlated to autoimmune diseases. My first thought, WONDERFUL, which one is it! He referred me to a rheumatologist who ran a series of additional tests as well as upper and lower chest x-ray. I tested negative for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. The X-rays did show a little arthritis in my back and hips. However, she didn’t feel it was the primary cause for the positive ANA.
So I asked my PCP, what now? He indicated my body was in the process of developing the disease and it is not showing up in my bloodwork yet. That he would run some more tests at my annual checkup. I received a handful of prescriptions and I was on my way.
Are you kidding me? So I am supposed to just sit back and wait until the disease finishing developing before they will do anything about it?
After pondering a few days, I started fuming. Was I really going to just sit back, pop pills and wait for the disease to develop? I think not! So I started doing some research on my symptoms. The more I researched the more references to food allergies and food intolerances I found. So I made an appointment with an allergist to have a food allergy panel test performed. I tested negative to all of them! I was shocked, I was certain something would come up positive. I did some additional research and found it could be a food intolerance, which would not come up on a food allergy test.
Now what? I started a food journal and inventoried all the foods I consumed on a regular basis. I organized them in quantity order based on occurrence. What I was consuming the most appeared to have contained flour (wheat/gluten). The other item I felt I consumed the most of was Diet Soda, drinking on average 6 cans a day. So I decided to start with the first one and run with it. I read up on Gluten-free diets and started one immediately. My symptoms immediately started to improve, but not all of them. I went to the doctor again, he reran the blood test and I was still testing positive to ANA. I still had some symptoms that continued to be a problem so I selected the next item on my list, I eliminated Diet Soda, replaced it with purified water. Most of the remaining symptoms disappeared within 8 weeks. 3 months later I returned to the doctor and he again reran the ANA blood test, and to my surprise it was NEGATIVE! I fixed my own auto-immune disease! Gluten and Diet Soda was the root of my problem! Reflecting back on that, I realized not even the best doctor would have figured that one out.