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Positive SCL-70 and ANA

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#1 jdeb



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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:17 PM

I scheduled a rheumatologist appointment because I was having swelling/pain in the palms of my hands (swollen tendons that cause pain at my joints), swelling/pain in balls of my feet and sore knees. My test results came back fine except I have a positive ANA and also positive for SCL-70. (My blood test was a 7 - which he said is very positive.) He re-tested my blood - sent it to a different lab and the result came back the same thing. And - I also discovered that I have Raynaud's in my toes. I am now being referred to a Scleroderma Specialist in Charleston, SC. (I am still waiting on an appointment to be scheduled.) With these basic symptoms - could this possibly be Scleroderma? Since this has happened - I've been very worried and notice every little thing - like how it seems like the red blood vessels in my fingers are near the surface of the skin. (Do I potentially have Raynaud's in my fingers ?) I have minor swelling in my fingers - they pretty much stay like that all day - but it is nothing like pictures that I have seen on the internet. Is this/could this be Scleroderma? What is considered high for a SCL-70 blood test? All I can find is that anything over 1.0 is positive.

#2 Sheryl


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Posted 08 February 2011 - 09:28 PM

jdeb, welcome to ISN. You will find out so much information on our many pages of updated materials. We cover many autoimmune diseases. Many of our members help out daily by answering questions or concerns that each of us have. It is good that you have chosen to see a specialist in Scleroderma. I hope you get the help you need soon. Keep us informed on your tests and appointments as they occur.
Strength and Warmth,

Sheryl Doom
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#3 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 11:32 AM

Hi jdeb,

Welcome to Sclero Forums! I'm sorry it's because of concerns over systemic scleroderma, but I'm glad you found us.

It's possible to have positive antibodies for scleroderma without ever developing full blown disease, so that means it is the symptoms are most important for diagnosing systemic sclerosis (SSc) and related autoimmune diseases. Seeing the scleroderma expert is the smart thing to do. Just don't be surprised if you walk away without a diagnosis of any sort and perhaps with a request to follow up in a year or so, because often people will have positive blood work, and a symptom or two of connective tissue disease, but then it stays the same or fades away without ever getting worse. So in cases that are not clear cut (which few are in the beginning, when it comes to connective tissue diseases), sometimes getting a good baseline established is about all you can reasonably hope for.

I just mention this because so many people are positive they'll get a clear diagnosis on their first visit to a scleroderma expert, and then remain frustrated, confused or disappointed...because they thought it would be a sure, quick, easy thing to diagnose. By keeping your expectations nice and low, it will be easier to go with the flow of either an immediate diagnosis or a wait-and-see approach.

Bear in mind that a diagnosis will most probably make you uninsurable for health and life insurance thereafter, so try to cover those issues ahead of time (just in case), if it is possible. (Actually, you would have wanted that in place before having the SCL blood test done, because insurance companies have a strong tendency to err on the safe side.)

Regardless, come what may, a fleeting experience of symptoms or a more long term issue, we are always here for you. And here are some warm hugs to comfort you during this rollercoaster time.

Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
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The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#4 Amanda Thorpe

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 11:42 AM

Hello Jdeb

Welcome to the forums! That you have found us at this early stage and are being referred to a specialist already is nothing but a bonus! :emoticons-yes:

As Shelley has said it's early days and you may not get a scleroderma diagnosis. If you do be assured that it's not necessarily the end of the world it just feels like it. Whether you make the transition from the land of the healthy to the land of chronic illness or not you won't be alone because there's loads of us here and we've all been where you are at, the beginning however the story ends.

Take care and keep posting.
Amanda Thorpe
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#5 Joelf


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Posted 09 February 2011 - 01:17 PM

Hi Jdeb,

A warm welcome to these friendly and helpful forums!

I'm sorry to hear that you've been so worried over the results of your blood tests and that you've had some other unexplained symptoms. As the others have said, blood tests for Scleroderma are by no means conclusive and it is quite possible to have the anti bodies but never develop the full blown disease. This is what makes Scleroderma such a very difficult disease to diagnose as no two cases are exactly the same.

There are two good things however; firstly you're being referred to a Sclero expert which is an excellent idea as many ordinary rheumatologists have very little idea about this complex disease and secondly you've found our forums so you are now amongst people who understand the worry and frustration you are experiencing and you can always be sure of a helpful and sympathetic ear should you need it.

Do please post again and let us know about your appointment with the Sclero specialist.

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#6 Sweet


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Posted 09 February 2011 - 02:48 PM

Hello jdeb! Just wanted to add my welcome! :flowers:
Warm and gentle hugs,

ISN Support Specialist
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#7 susieq40


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Posted 09 February 2011 - 08:34 PM

Welcome!! Hope you find this place helpful and supportive! I know I really have found many new friends here, and lots of support. Helps to have someone know how you feel and what you are going through. I hope the appointment with a specialist can bring some comfort and answer your questions. I know when I was first diagnosed, it was so overwhelming, and so much information, didn't know what to think or believe. Everyone's
diagnosis is different.... We are here for you!! Take things one day at a time.... :bye:


#8 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 12:38 PM

Hi jdeb,

I'm just popping in to add my welcome to the Forum and send an ISN hug: :emoticons-group-hug: (I'm the blue smiley in the back!)

Right now is going to be a rough time for you for worrying and anxiety - it is for everybody. Uncertainty is really stressful, but eventually you will get some kind of comfort level established with the not-knowing, and build some healthy calluses over the anxiety. Trust me on this! We've got a very good section on Coping and Emotional Adjustment that might be helpful to read, there are some good tips and some things to think about, as well.

Let us know when your appointment is scheduled - we'll all be here rooting for you.

Best wishes,
Jeannie McClelland
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#9 queenie


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Posted 10 February 2011 - 06:28 PM

Hi jdeb,

Just wanting to say hi and wish you a warm welcome too :high-five:

I too am awaiting an appointment with a sclero doctor and I know how you feel but try not to get yourself too stressed out as it is not good for you. Trust me I know!

Just keep posting and remember that your not alone.

Take care hugs from queenie :emoticon-hug:

#10 jillatk


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Posted 10 February 2011 - 09:28 PM

welcome to the forums. If is it any consolation for you everyone goes through this initial desperation for answers. I read umpteen articles about things I really know nothing about - all in an attempt to wrap my brains around what was happening. It was down right maddening to have to wait to see a specialist and feel like I was hanging on by the least thread while being in a holding pattern. I can tell you that I am 2 years post diagnosis and still have moments of thinking that if I could just get enough information then I could get this under control. That is always a sure sign for me that I am stressed and need to slow down and relax. Luckily, this tends to be a slow moving disease so you have time. Take the time and take it in piece by piece and remember that fundamentally you are still who you are and your life will continue. You are going to be okay - I promise.