How to Test for an Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune tests are examinations that are used to detect autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune disorders are illnesses that happen when the body’s immune system damages various cells, organs, tissues, or the entire body.

The problem is the immune system creates antibodies to attack good cells it doesn’t recognize as its own. Autoimmune testing can detect if a person has a general or a specific autoimmune disease. 

Should I Get Tested?

If your family has a history of autoimmune disorders, your physician may recommend autoimmune testing so you can take the necessary precautions to safeguard your health.

If you’re having symptoms linked to having an autoimmune disease, your doctor may also suggest an immunity test. Symptoms associated with an autoimmune disorder include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Fatigue
  • Joint swelling and pain
  • Muscle pain 

Types of Autoimmune Tests

There are several tests used to detect autoimmune disorders. No test is 100% accurate, therefore, it’s best to get an evaluation along with the autoimmune test. The most common tests include:

  • ESR Blood Test (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate)
  • C Reactive Protein (CRP Blood Test)
  • Extractable Nuclear Antigen Antibodies (ENA) Panel

ESR Blood Test “Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate” 

The ESR test analyzes how fast red blood cells (aka erythrocytes) gather at the bottom of a test tube that holds a blood sample. Typically, red blood cells gradually settle. If the red blood cells settle faster, this could be a sign of an autoimmune disease. It could also be an indication of:

  • Cancer 
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Infection
  • Other inflammatory conditions

An extremely high ESR could be a sign of rheumatoid arthritis, polymyalgia rheumatic, or lupus. 

C – Reactive Protein – CRP

A C-reactive protein test measures CRP levels of protein created in the liver. When there’s inflammation, CRP is released into the bloodstream. Deviations in CRP levels could indicate inflammation due to an autoimmune disease or another chronic condition like osteoarthritis or type 2 diabetes.

Extractable Nuclear Antigen Antibodies – ENA – Panel

If an ENA test discovers antinuclear antibodies in your blood, you could have an autoimmune disease. While an ENA test is frequently used to diagnose lupus, these antibodies could be a signal of another systemic autoimmune disease such as scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjögren’s syndrome.

A Word from the Center for Functional Medicine

Attempting to diagnose an autoimmune disease can be a very time-consuming process. 

Even if you take numerous blood tests, these tests aren’t conclusive as to whether you have an autoimmune disorder and which one you have.Schedule a free 15-minute discovery call and talk with our autoimmune specialist in Denver about any symptoms you have. Even though a symptom may not be related to a specific condition, every symptom is a sign that could assist the specialist in narrowing it down to a distinct diagnosis.