Understanding lupus

Should my children be tested for lupus if I have lupus?

There is no single test for lupus. Checking for autoantibodies in the blood (ANA, double-stranded DNA, and others) does not screen for the presence or absence of lupus; a good understanding of the person's medical history and a thorough physical examination are the best ways to screen for lupus.

Also, there is a high likelihood that a mother with a positive ANA will predispose a child to have a positive ANA. But the ANA test alone is not helpful without other signs or symptoms of lupus. ANA testing is not advisable in individuals who do not have symptoms, and we highly discourage testing children for lupus since doing so in the absence of lupus signs or symptoms usually causes undue concern or alarm.

Medically reviewed on July 18, 2013