Would All Autoimmune Diseases Have a Positive ANA? Low White Blood Cell Count

Hi, everyone. I'm not quite sure if this belongs in this group, but I know it's very active and worth asking. Admins, please let me know if you'd like me to remove it.

So about a year ago (maybe a year and a half now), I noticed I was having unexplained weight loss (now about 30% of my total BW!!). I also was having fatigue, hair loss, along with some other non-specific symptoms. I saw a few doctors (I've been under continuous care by a few) with no resolution.

Back in May, I was diagnosed with mild anemia and Lyme disease (it was a crazy diagnosis, never really had the symptoms). We treated both.

Last month, I went in for my routine CBC and iron panel, 3 months after I began supplementing iron. Not two hours later, I get a call from my PCP herself. The iron panel hadn't come in yet, but my WBC was so low she received a call from the lab, I guess they call it "panic low".

I had a follow up CBC two weeks later to make sure it wasn't transient and I still had a low WBC and ANC (I can get the exact labs if that's important).

My PCP ordered a bunch of tests including ANA, complement C3 & C4, Vitamin B12, Folate, Anaplasma, ESR. All of these came back normal. I was under the impression that one of the most common causes of neutropenia in young adults is autoimmune diseases, but my ANA titer was negative. I was referred to a hematologist, but I cannot get in to see them until mid-November.

It's also probably worth mentioning I've had a crazy amount of blood tests done, all seemingly normal so far. Please feel free to ask for specific labs/values if that would be helpful.

Any suggestion or information regarding all of this would be greatly appreciated. Please ask any/all questions that may help you.

Thank you!

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21 Replies

  • Well bits of your post I would have to look up so not sure I know how to answer but I do know Lyme can be difficult to tie down. As you say you don't know whether you are on the right site so can you post results of thyroid tests if they have been done and post them with the ranges and at least we can look at that for a start. The thyroid looks to care for every cell in your body so a good place to begin with.

  • Thanks for your reply, silverfox7

    I know that Lyme can be tricky, but we really don't think that's my problem. It was a fluke diagnosis so we don't attribute it to much.

    I'll include my latest thyroid studies:

    - TSH: 1.330 [0.360 - 3.700]

    - Free T4: 1.35 [0.76 - 1.48]

    - Total T3: 93 [60 - 181]

    - TSI: 99% [<=122%]

    - TSH Receptor Ab: <0.90 [<=1.75]

  • Thank you for posting. To be well Thyroid wise the aim is to get the FT4 and the FT3 in the top third or even the top quarter in there respective ranges. Do you have a FT3 result? I'm not familiar with Total results at all but your total T3 looks low but that may be isn't a sound correlation. T3 is the important one so it may be worth looking further into that.

    Not sure what you mean about Lyme being a fluke diagnosis. Clyde that it was tested or that results are flawed so. It to be relied on? If results show a concern then I wouldn't dismiss it. The body is so complex that I think we often need to explore every avenue as it could not only be contributing but in turn could trigger a chain reaction. Sorry I can't be more helpful. This forum is run by Thyroid Uk and their site has many facts so may be have a look to see if anything sounds like you

  • Thanks for taking a look at those, I don't believe I've ever had my FT3 checked.

    I say that the Lyme disease was a fluke diagnosis because it was sort of found on accident. A specialist I saw tested me for it, but never followed up on it. I ended up finding the positive test results myself. I talked to my GP and she said that it was positive and started me on four weeks of doxycycline.

    Thank you for all the help!

  • Hi I have low wbc and low platelets and coeliacs and they think Hashimotos not sure on that yet long story

  • Thanks for your reply! How low were your low WBC?

  • I was at 2.1 last time checked on wbc which was up from 1.9

  • Oh wow, that's a bit lower than mine.

  • They thought mine was from medication but when I gave the medication up the wbc didn't improve so we are still not sure what's causing it

  • Yeah I took an antibiotic for a month, but we really don't think that was the cause either... especially because it's now been a few months and it's still low.

  • Just from my own research and advised by my Rheumy many healthy ppl can have a false positive ANA.

    There are many different antibodies all help with symptoms to get a diagnosis. As you probably had a positive Lyme AB. As most with hypothyroidism will have positive thyroid specific antibodies - TPOab TGab identifying Hashimotos. Etc. ANA is the antibody for connective tissue diseases such as lupus, arthritis, myositis etc

    I do have a positive ANA and initially was diagnosed with UCTD a year ago. Referred by my Endo to Rheumatology I now have been diagnosed with Lupus and Myositis. I think it's a process of elimination and further blood tests to investigate each individual. But as far as I am aware based on my own experience not all autoimmune diseases have a positive ANA if that's any help :)

  • I've read that, I expected to have a positive but mine was negative.

    Thank you for describing that, it makes a lot of sense. I did have positive Lyme antibodies.

    I guess the search continues. I'll be seeing a hematologist to check up on the low WBC in a few months.

    Thank you, hope you're doing well! :)

  • Could it not be your lymes disease as I hear it can make you really unwell? X

  • It's a possibility, but I really don't think so. I feel no different after treatment (in fact, the low WBC was picked up only after treating the low WBC).

  • Its worth also pointing out that you can have a positive ANA but it doesnt necessarily mean you have a connective tissue problem as i have recently discovered.

  • I have read that! I just SO thought we had a lead when my doctor called to tell me about the additional tests she wanted to order, then everything was normal!!

  • I mentioned that at the start of my comment that healthy ppl can have a positive ANA I think it comes down to symptoms and a process of elimination

  • You mentioned a false positive not a positive hence why i made the comment. Sorry to sound pedantic but from my experience i did not have a false positive i had a positive even though negative for lupus and other connective tissue disorders.

  • My Rheumy actually said she classes it as a "false" positive her words not mine for someone who is healthy and has a positive ANA

  • I probably should have clarified that I did not have a positive one, though I still think I have an autoimmune disorder. I was unsure whether or not an ANA would/should be positive in every single autoimmune disorder.

  • Its an interesting subject ANA as i was and still am baffled about having a positive ANA not a false postive but in my case i do have hashimotos which is an autoimmune condition. I believe the specialist i saw was looking perhaps for SLE but the further tests did not come back positive so i think in my case its been parked up and perhaps put down to hashimotos in the absence of any other findings but MissFG is also right in that some healthy folk do have a positive ANA which could be down to infection or medically induced which i didnt realise was called a false positive. I think you can have an autoimmune condition without a positive ANA though but i think you would need additional autoantibodies to be present to confirm this...please correct me if i've got this wrong!

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