Autoimmune Blood Tests

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Autoimmune tests are tests that are used to diagnose autoimmune diseases. These tests are a combination of autoantibody blood tests-rays, clinical presentation and blood tests that measure organ function and inflammation. There is no cure at present for autoimmune diseases.

Autoimmune disorders are those disorders that occur when the body's immune system attacks different organs, cells, tissues or the entire body. The immune system does not recognize the cells as one of its own and creates antibodies that attack the cells. Autoimmune testing is necessary to see if the person has organ specific autoimmune disease or generalized autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease tests are carried out to see why the body has reacted in a particular way. Genetic factors, infections, certain drugs/medications, sequestrated antigens and organ rejection after transplant are some of the causes of autoimmune disorders.

Blood Tests for Autoimmune Disease

One blood test for autoimmune disease is C-reactive protein (CRP). Another test is ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) - this is done to assess an inflammation that is not from an infection or due to other reasons. One of the most common blood tests for detecting autoimmune disorders is ANA (antinuclear antibodies). This is also known an ANF (anti nuclear factor). Some genetic autoimmune diseases can be found by testing for the HLA-B27 antigen. A positive result indicates that there is a greater risk of developing these disorders especially if there is a family history of autoimmune disease. There are also certain tests for organ specific autoimmune disorders. Testing for thyroid antibodies in Hashimoto's thyroiditis is one such example. Autoimmune lab tests can be carried out once your physician has recommended them.

Test for Autoimmune Hepatitis

Test for autoimmune hepatitis is conducted when the body's immune system attacks the liver cells. This causes inflammation of the liver, also known as hepatitis. 70 % of people who suffer from autoimmune hepatitis are female. The disease is chronic and eventually leads to cirrhosis of the liver. It can also result in liver failure. Autoimmune hepatitis is classified into Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 usually begins in adolescence while Type 2 generally affects girls aged 2-14, although adults can get it too. Symptoms include, but are not limited to fatigue, enlarged liver, dark urine, loss of appetite, joint pain, skin rashes, jaundice, nausea, vomiting, abdominal discomfort, itching and abnormal blood vessels on the skin. Blood tests and a liver biopsy are the tests that detect autoimmune hepatitis. The doctor will make a diagnosis based on the test for autoimmune hepatitis.