Lyme Disease Tests: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What are Lyme disease tests?

Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria carried by ticks. Lyme disease tests look for signs of infection in your blood or cerebrospinal fluid.

You can get Lyme disease if an infected tick bites you. Ticks can bite you anywhere on your body, but they usually bite in hard-to-see parts of your body such as the groin, scalp, and armpits. The ticks that cause Lyme disease are tiny, as small as a speck of dirt. So you may not know you have been bitten.

If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious health problems affecting your joints, heart, and nervous system. But if diagnosed early, most cases of Lyme disease can be cured after a few weeks of treatment with antibiotics.

Other names: Lyme antibodies detection, Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies test, Borrelia DNA Detection, IgM/IgG by Western Blot, Lyme disease test (CSF), Borrelia antibodies, IgM/IgG

What are they used for?

Lyme disease tests are used to find out if you have a Lyme disease infection.

Why do I need a Lyme disease test?

You may need a Lyme disease test if you have symptoms of infection. The first symptoms of Lyme disease usually show up between three and 30 days after the tick bite. They may include:

You may also need a Lyme disease test if you don’t have symptoms, but are at risk for infection. You may be at a higher risk if you:

  • Recently removed a tick from your body
  • Walked in a heavily wooded area, where ticks live, without covering exposed skin or wearing repellent
  • Have done either of the above activities and live in or have recently visited the northeast or midwestern areas of the United States, where most Lyme disease cases occur

Lyme disease is most treatable in its early stages, but you may still benefit from testing later on. Symptoms that may show up weeks or months after the tick bite. They may include:

  • Severe headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Severe joint pain and swelling
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Memory and sleep disorders

What happens during Lyme disease testing?

Lyme disease testing is usually done with your blood or cerebrospinal fluid.

For a Lyme disease blood test:

  • A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

If you have symptoms of Lyme disease affecting your nervous system, such as neck stiffness and numbness in hands or feet, you may need a test of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is a clear liquid found in your brain and spinal cord. During this test, your CSF will be collected through a procedure called a lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap. During the procedure:

  • You will lie on your side or sit on an exam table.
  • A health care provider will clean your back and inject an anesthetic into your skin, so you won’t feel pain during the procedure. Your provider may put a numbing cream on your back before this injection.
  • Once the area on your back is completely numb, your provider will insert a thin, hollow needle between two vertebrae in your lower spine. Vertebrae are the small backbones that make up your spine.
  • Your provider will withdraw a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid for testing. This will take about five minutes.
  • You’ll need to stay very still while the fluid is being withdrawn.
  • Your provider may ask you to lie on your back for an hour or two after the procedure. This may prevent you from getting a headache afterward.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for a Lyme disease blood test.

For a lumbar puncture, you may be asked to empty your bladder and bowels before the test.

Are there any risks to Lyme disease tests?

There is very little risk to having a blood test or a lumbar puncture. If you had a blood test, you may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly. If you had a lumbar puncture, you may have pain or tenderness in your back where the needle was inserted. You may also get a headache after the procedure.

What do the results mean?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a two-test process of your sample:

  • If your first test result is negative for Lyme disease, you don’t need any more testing.
  • If your first result is positive for Lyme disease, your blood will get a second test.
  • If both results are positive for Lyme disease and you also have symptoms of infection, you probably have Lyme disease.

Positive results don’t always mean a Lyme disease diagnosis. In some cases, you can have a positive result but not have an infection. Positive results may also mean you have an autoimmune disease, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

If your lumbar puncture results are positive, it may mean you have Lyme disease, but you might need more tests to confirm a diagnosis.

If your health care provider thinks you have Lyme disease, he or she will prescribe antibiotic treatment. Most people who are treated with antibiotics in the early stage of disease will make a complete recovery.

Is there anything else I need to know about Lyme disease tests?

You can reduce your chances of getting Lyme disease by taking the following steps:

  • Avoid walking in wooded areas with high grass.
  • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Wear long pants and tuck them into your boots or socks.
  • Apply an insect repellent containing DEET to your skin and clothing.

References

  1. ALDF: American Lyme Disease Foundation [Internet]. Lyme (CT): American Lyme Disease Foundation, Inc.; c2015. Lyme Disease [updated 2017 Dec 27; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://www.aldf.com/lyme-disease
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Lyme Disease [updated 2017 Nov 16; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 1 screen]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Lyme Disease: Preventing Tick Bites on People [updated 2017 Apr 17; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/prev/on_people.html
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Lyme Disease: Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease [updated 2016 Oct 26; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/signs_symptoms/index.html
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Lyme Disease: Transmission [updated 2015 Mar 4; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/transmission/index.html
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Lyme Disease: Treatment [updated 2017 Dec 1; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/treatment/index.html
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [Internet]. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Lyme Disease: Two-step Laboratory Testing Process [updated 2015 Mar 26; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/diagnosistesting/labtest/twostep/index.html
  8. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth’s Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Lyme Disease Serology; 369 p.
  9. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Analysis [updated 2017 Dec 28; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/cerebrospinal-fluid-csf-analysis
  10. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Lyme Disease [updated 2017 Dec 3; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/conditions/lyme-disease
  11. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Lyme Disease Tests [updated 2017 Dec 28; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/lyme-disease-tests
  12. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. Lyme Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment; 2016 Apr 3 [cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 5 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374655
  13. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co. Inc.; c2017. Lyme Disease [cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/infections/bacterial-infections-spirochetes/lyme-disease
  14. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co. Inc.; c2017. Tests for Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders [cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/diagnosis-of-brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/tests-for-brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders
  15. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Blood Tests [cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests
  16. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Borrelia Antibody (Blood) [cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=borrelia_antibody_lyme
  17. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Borrelia Antibody (CSF) [cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=borrelia_antibody_lyme_csf
  18. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Diagnostic Tests for Neurological Disorders [cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=P00811
  19. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2017. Health Information: Lyme Disease Test: Results [updated 2017 Mar 3; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 8 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/lyme-disease-test/hw5113.html#hw5149
  20. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2017. Health Information: Lyme Disease Test: Test Overview [updated 2017 Mar 3; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/lyme-disease-test/hw5113.html
  21. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2017. Health Information: Lyme Disease Test: Why It’s Done [updated 2017 Mar 3; cited 2017 Dec 28]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/lyme-disease-test/hw5113.html#hw5131

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Hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test?

A hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test measures the amount of blood sugar (glucose) attached to hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. An HbA1c test shows what the average amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin has been over the past three months. It’s a three-month average because that’s typically how long a red blood cell lives.

If your HbA1c levels are high, it may be a sign of diabetes, a chronic condition that can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage.

Other names: HbA1c, A1c, glycohemoglobin, glycated hemoglobin, glycosylated hemoglobin

What is it used for?

An HbA1c test may be used to check for diabetes or prediabetes in adults. Prediabetes means your blood sugar levels show you are at risk for getting diabetes.

If you already have diabetes, an HbA1c test can help monitor your condition and glucose levels.

Why do I need an HbA1c test?

You may need an HbA1c test if you have symptoms of diabetes. These include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue

Your health care provider may also order an HbA1c test if you are at higher risk for getting diabetes. Risk factors include:

What happens during an HbA1c test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for an HbA1c test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

HbA1c results are given in percentages. Typical results are below.

  • Normal: HbA1c below 5.7%
  • Prediabetes: HbA1c between 5.7% and 6.4
  • Diabetes: HbA1c of 6.5% or higher

Your results may mean something different. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

If you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association recommends keeping your HbA1c levels below 7%. Your health care provider may have other recommendations for you, depending on your overall health, age, weight, and other factors.

Is there anything else I need to know about an HbA1c test?

The HbA1c test is not used for gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that only affects pregnant women, or for diagnosing diabetes in children.

Also, if you have anemia or another type of blood disorder, an HbA1c test may be less accurate for diagnosing diabetes. If you have one of these disorders and are at risk for diabetes, your health care provider may recommend different tests.

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Rheumatoid Factor (RF) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a rheumatoid factor (RF) test?

A rheumatoid factor (RF) test measures the amount of rheumatoid factor (RF) in your blood. Rheumatoid factors are proteins produced by the immune system. Normally, the immune system attacks disease-causing substances like viruses and bacteria. Rheumatoid factors attack healthy joints, glands, or other normal cells by mistake.

An RF test is most often used to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of autoimmune disorder that causes pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints. Rheumatoid factors may also be a sign of other autoimmune disorders, such as juvenile arthritis, certain infections, and some types of cancer.

Other names: RF Blood Test

What is it used for?

An RF test is used to help diagnose rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders.

Why do I need an RF test?

You may need an RF test if you have symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. These include:

  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Joint swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever

What happens during an RF test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for an RF test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

If rheumatoid factor is found in your blood, it may indicate:

About 20 percent of people with rheumatoid arthritis have little or no rheumatoid factor in their blood. So even if your results were normal, your health care provider may order more tests to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.

If your results were not normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medical condition needing treatment. Some healthy people have rheumatoid factor in their blood, but it’s not clear why.

Is there anything else I need to know about an RF test?

An RF test is not used to diagnose osteoarthritis. Although rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis both affect the joints, they are very different diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that affects people at any age, but usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60. It affects more women than men. Symptoms may come and go and vary in severity. Osteoarthritis is not an autoimmune disease. It is caused by the wear and tear of joints over time and usually affects adults over the age of 65.

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CSF IgG Index: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a CSF IgG index?

CSF stands for cerebrospinal fluid. It is a clear, colorless liquid found in your brain and spinal cord. The brain and spinal cord make up your central nervous system. Your central nervous system controls and coordinates everything you do, including muscle movement, organ function, and even complex thinking and planning.

IgG stands for immunoglobulin G, a type of antibody. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system to fight viruses, bacteria, and other foreign substances. A CSF IgG index measures the levels of IgG in your cerebrospinal fluid. High levels of IgG can mean you have an autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder causes your immune system to attack healthy cells, tissues, and/or organs by mistake. These disorders can cause serious health problems.

Other names: cerebrospinal fluid IgG level, cerebrospinal fluid IgG measurement CSF IgG level, IgG (Immunoglobulin G) spinal fluid, IgG synthesis rate

What is it used for?

A CSF IgG index is used to check for diseases of the central nervous system. It is often used to help diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is a chronic autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system. Many people with MS have disabling symptoms including severe fatigue, weakness, difficulty walking, and vision problems. About 80 percent of MS patients have higher than normal levels of IgG.

Why do I need a CSF IgG index?

You may need a CSF IgG index if you have symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Symptoms of MS include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Tingling in the arms, legs, or face
  • Muscle spasms
  • Weak muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Bladder control problems
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Double vision
  • Changes in behavior
  • Confusion

What happens during a CSF IgG index?

Your cerebrospinal fluid will be collected through a procedure called a spinal tap, also known as a lumbar puncture. A spinal tap is usually done in a hospital. During the procedure:

  • You will lie on your side or sit on an exam table.
  • A health care provider will clean your back and inject an anesthetic into your skin, so you won’t feel pain during the procedure. Your provider may put a numbing cream on your back before this injection.
  • Once the area on your back is completely numb, your provider will insert a thin, hollow needle between two vertebrae in your lower spine. Vertebrae are the small backbones that make up your spine.
  • Your provider will withdraw a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid for testing. This will take about five minutes.
  • You’ll need to stay very still while the fluid is being withdrawn.
  • Your provider may ask you to lie on your back for an hour or two after the procedure. This may prevent you from getting a headache afterward.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for a CSF IgG index, but you may be asked to empty your bladder and bowels before the test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a spinal tap. You may feel a little pinch or pressure when the needle is inserted. After the test, you may get a headache, called a post-lumbar headache. About one in 10 people will get a post-lumbar headache. This can last for several hours or up to a week or more. If you have a headache that lasts longer than several hours, talk to your health care provider. He or she may be able to provide treatment to relieve the pain.

You may feel some pain or tenderness in your back at the site where the needle was inserted. You may also have some bleeding at the site.

What do the results mean?

If your CSF IgG index shows higher than normal levels, it may indicate:

If your IgG index shows lower than normal levels, it may indicate:

  • A disorder that weakens the immune system. These disorders make it hard to fight infections.

If your IgG index results are not normal, it may not mean you have a medical condition needing treatment. Results can vary depending on a variety of factors including your age and overall health, and medicines you are taking. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about a CSF IgG index?

The CSF IgG index is often used to help diagnose multiple sclerosis (MS), but it is not specifically an MS test. There is no single test that can tell you whether you have MS. If your health care provider thinks you have MS, you will probably have several other tests to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.

While there is no cure for MS, there are many treatments available that can help relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease.

References

  1. Allina Health [Internet]. Minneapolis: Allina Health; c2018. Cerebrospinal fluid IgG measurement, quantitative [updated 2016 Mar 29; cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.allinahealth.org/CCS/doc/Thomson%20Consumer%20Lab%20Database/49/150438.htm
  2. Johns Hopkins Medicine [Internet]. Johns Hopkins Medicine; Health Library: Glossary: Allergy and Asthma [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/allergy_and_asthma/glossary__allergy_and_asthma_85,p00018#I
  3. Johns Hopkins Medicine [Internet]. Johns Hopkins Medicine; Health Library: Lumbar Puncture (LP) [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/neurological/lumbar_puncture_lp_92,p07666
  4. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.; American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2018. Autoimmune Diseases [updated 2017 Oct 10; cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/conditions/autoimmune-diseases
  5. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.; American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Analysis [updated 2018 Jan 13; cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/cerebrospinal-fluid-csf-analysis
  6. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.; American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2018. Multiple Sclerosis [updated 2017 Oct 10; cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/conditions/multiple-sclerosis
  7. Mayo Clinic: Mayo Medical Laboratories [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1995–2018. Test ID: SFIN: Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) IgG Index [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/8009
  8. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co. Inc.; c2018. Tests for Brain, Spinal Cord, and Nerve Disorders [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/diagnosis-of-brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/tests-for-brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders
  9. National Cancer Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms: multiple myeloma [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms?cdrid=45793
  10. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Multiple Sclerosis: Hope Through Research [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Multiple-Sclerosis-Hope-Through-Research#3215_4
  11. National Multiple Sclerosis Society [Internet]. National Multiple Sclerosis Society; Diagnosing MS [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/Diagnosing-MS
  12. National Multiple Sclerosis Society [Internet]. National Multiple Sclerosis Society; MS Symptoms [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/Symptoms-Diagnosis/MS-Symptoms
  13. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine: Genetics Home Reference [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Multiple Sclerosis; 2018 Jan 9 [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/multiple-sclerosis
  14. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2018. Health Encyclopedia: Quantitative Immunoglobulins [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=quantitative_immunoglobulins
  15. UW Health: American Family Children’s Hospital [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2018. Kids Health: Spinal Tap [cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 5 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealthkids.org/kidshealth/en/parents/lumbar-puncture.html/
  16. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2018. Immunoglobulins: Test Overview [updated 2017 Oct 9; cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/immunoglobulins/hw41342.html
  17. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2018. Immunoglobulins: Results [updated 2017 Oct 9; cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 8 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/immunoglobulins/hw41342.html#hw41354

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Microalbumin Creatinine Ratio: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a microalbumin creatinine ratio?

Microalbumin is a small amount of a protein called albumin. It is normally found in the blood. Creatinine is a normal waste product found in urine. A microalbumin creatinine ratio compares the amount of albumin to the amount of creatinine in your urine.

If there is any albumin in your urine, the amount can vary greatly throughout the day. But creatinine is released as a steady rate. Because of this, your health care provider can more accurately measure the amount of albumin by comparing it to the amount of creatinine in your urine. If albumin is found in your urine, it may mean you have a problem with your kidneys.

Other names: albumin-creatinine ratio; urine albumin; microalbumin, urine; ACR; UACR

What is it used for?

A microalbumin creatinine ratio is most often used to screen people who are at higher risk for kidney disease. These include people with diabetes or high blood pressure. Identifying kidney disease at an early stage can help prevent serious complications.

Why do I need a microalbumin creatinine ratio?

You may need this test if you have diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends:

If you have high blood pressure, you may get a microalbumin creatinine ratio at regular intervals, as recommended by your health care provider.

What happens during a microalbumin creatinine ratio?

For a microalbumin creatinine ratio you will be asked to provide either a 24-hour urine sample or a random urine sample.

For a 24-hour urine sample, you will need to collect all urine passed in a 24-hour period. Your health care provider or a laboratory professional will give you a container to collect your urine and instructions on how to collect and store your samples. A 24-hour urine sample test usually includes the following steps:

  • Empty your bladder in the morning and flush that urine down. Do not collect this urine. Record the time.
  • For the next 24 hours, save all your urine passed in the container provided.
  • Store your urine container in the refrigerator or a cooler with ice.
  • Return the sample container to your health provider’s office or the laboratory as instructed.

For a random urine sample, you will receive a container in which to collect the urine and special instructions to ensure the sample is sterile. These instructions are often referred to as the “clean catch method.” The clean catch method includes the following steps:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Clean your genital area with a cleansing pad. Men should wipe the tip of their penis. Women should open their labia and clean from front to back.
  • Start to urinate into the toilet.
  • Move the collection container under your urine stream.
  • Collect at least an ounce or two of urine into the container, which should have markings to indicate the amount.
  • Finish urinating into the toilet.
  • Return the sample container as instructed by your health care provider.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for a microalbumin creatinine ratio.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is no known risk to a 24-hour urine sample or a random urine sample.

What do the results mean?

If your microalbumin creatinine ratio shows albumin in your urine, you may get tested again to confirm the results. If your results continue to show albumin in urine, it may mean you have early-stage kidney disease. If your test results show high levels of albumin, it may mean you have kidney failure. If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, your health care provider will take steps to treat the disease and/or prevent further complications.

If small amounts of albumin are found in your urine, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have kidney disease. Urinary tract infections and other factors can cause albumin to show up in urine. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about a microalbumin creatinine ratio?

Be sure not to confuse “prealbumin” with albumin. Although they sound similar, prealbumin is a different type of protein. A prealbumin test is used to diagnose different conditions than a microalbumin creatinine ratio.

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Porphyrin Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What are porphyrin tests?

Porphyrin tests measure the level of porphyrins in your blood, urine, or stool. Porphyrins are chemicals that help make hemoglobin, a type of protein in your red blood cells. Hemoglobin carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body.

It’s normal to have a small amount of porphyrins in your blood and other body fluids. But too much porphyrin may mean you have a type of porphyria. Porphyria is a rare disorder that can cause serious health problems. Porphyria is usually divided into two categories:

  • Acute porphyrias, which mainly affect the nervous system and causes abdominal symptoms
  • Cutaneous porphyrias, which cause skin symptoms when you are exposed to sunlight

Some porphyrias affect both the nervous system and the skin.

Other names: protoporphyrin; protoporphyrin, blood; protoporhyrin, stool; porphyrins, feces; uroporphyrin; porphyrins, urine; Mauzerall-Granick test; acid; ALA; porphobilinogen; PBG; free erythrocyte protoporphyrin; fractionated erythrocyte porphyrins; FEP

What are they used for?

Porphyrin tests are used to diagnose or monitor porphyria.

Why do I need a porphyrin test?

You may need a porphyrin test if you have symptoms of porphyria. There are different symptoms for the different types of porphyria.

Symptoms of acute porphyria include:

Symptoms of cutaneous porphyria include:

You may also need a porphyrin test if someone in your family has porphyria. Most types of porphyria are inherited, meaning the condition is passed from parent to child.

What happens during porphyrin testing?

Porphyrins can be tested in blood, urine, or stool. The most common types of porphyrin tests are listed below.

  • Blood Test
    • A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
  • 24-Hour Urine Sample
    • You will collect all your urine during a 24-hour period. For this test, your health care provider or laboratory will give you a container and specific instructions on how to collect your samples at home. Be sure to follow all instructions carefully. This 24-hour urine sample test is used because the amounts of substances in urine, including porphyrin, can vary throughout the day. So collecting several samples in a day may give a more accurate picture of your urine content.
  • Random Urine Test
    • You can provide your sample at any time of day, with no special preparations or handling needed. This test is often done in a health care provider’s office or a lab.
  • Stool Test (also called protoporphyrin in stool)
    • You will collect a sample of your stool and place it in a special container. Your health care provider will give you instructions on how to prepare your sample and send it to a lab.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for blood or urine tests.

For a stool test, you may be instructed to not eat meat or take any aspirin-containing medicines for three days prior to your test.

Are there any risks to porphyrin tests?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

There are no known risks to urine or stool tests.

What do the results mean?

If high levels of porphyrin are found in your blood, urine, or stool, your health care provider will probably order more tests to confirm a diagnosis and to find out what kind of porphyria you have. While there is no cure for porphyria, the condition can be managed. Certain lifestyle changes and/or medicines can help prevent the symptoms and complications of the disease. Specific treatment depends on the type of porphyria you have. If you have questions about your results or about porphyria, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about porphyrin tests?

While most types of porphyria are inherited, other types porphyria can also be acquired. Acquired porphyria can be caused by a variety of factors, including overexposure to lead, HIV, hepatitis C, excess iron intake, and/or heavy alcohol use.

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Immunoglobulins Blood Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is an immunoglobulins blood test?

This test measures the amount of immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, in your blood. Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system to fight disease-causing substances, like viruses and bacteria. Your body makes different types of immunoglobulins to fight different types of these substances.

An immunoglobulins test usually measures three specific types of immunoglobulins. They are called igG, igM, and IgA. If your levels of igG, igM, or IgA are too low or too high, it may be a sign of a serious health problem.

Other names: quantitative immunoglobulins, total immunoglobulins, IgG, IgM, IgA testing

What is it used for?

An immunoglobulins blood test may be used to help diagnose a variety of conditions, including:

Why do I need an immunoglobulins blood test?

You may need this test if your health care provider thinks your immunoglobulin levels might be too low or too high.

Symptoms of levels that are too low include:

  • Frequent and/or unusual bacterial or viral infections
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Sinus infections
  • Lung infections
  • Family history of immunodeficiency

If your immunoglobulin levels are too high, it may be a sign of an autoimmune disease, a chronic illness, an infection, or a type of cancer. Symptoms of these conditions vary greatly. Your health care provider may use information from your physical exam, medical history, and/or other tests to see if you are at risk for one of these diseases.

What happens during an immunoglobulins blood test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for an immunoglobulins blood test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

If your results show lower than normal levels of immunoglobulins, it may indicate:

If your results show higher than normal levels of immunoglobulins, it may indicate:

If your results are not normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medical condition needing treatment. The use of certain medicines, alcohol, and recreational drugs can affect your results. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about an immunglobulins blood test?

Your health care provider may order other tests to help make a diagnosis. These tests might include urinalysis, other blood tests, or a procedure called a spinal tap. During a spinal tap, a health care provider will use a special needle to remove a sample of a clear liquid, called cerebrospinal fluid, from your back.

References

  1. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth’s Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Quantitative Immunoglobulins: IgA, IgG, and IgM; 442–3 p.
  2. Johns Hopkins Medicine [Internet]. Johns Hopkins Medicine; Health Library: Lumbar Puncture (LP) [cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/neurological/lumbar_puncture_lp_92,p07666
  3. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2018. Quantitative Immunoglobulins [updated 2018 Jan 15; cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/tests/quantitative-immunoglobulins
  4. Loh RK, Vale S, Maclean-Tooke A. Quantitative serum immunoglobulin tests. Aust Fam Physician [Internet]. 2013 Apr [cited 2018 Feb 17]; 42(4):195–8. Available from: https://www.racgp.org.au/afp/2013/april/quantitative-serum-immunoglobulin-tests
  5. Mayo Clinic: Mayo Medical Laboratories [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1995–2018. Test ID: IMMG: Immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, and IgM), Serum: Clinical and Interpretative [cited 2018 Feb 17; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/8156
  6. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co. Inc.; c2018. Autoimmune Disorders [cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/immune-disorders/allergic-reactions-and-other-hypersensitivity-disorders/autoimmune-disorders
  7. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co. Inc.; c2018. Overview of Immunodeficiency Disorders [cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/immune-disorders/immunodeficiency-disorders/overview-of-immunodeficiency-disorders
  8. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Blood Tests [cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests
  9. Nemours Children’s Health System [Internet]. Jacksonville (FL): The Nemours Foundation; c1995–2018. Blood Test: Immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, IgM) [cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/test-immunoglobulins.html
  10. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2018. Health Encyclopedia: Quantitative Immunoglobulins [cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=quantitative_immunoglobulins
  11. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2018. Immunoglobulins: Results [updated 2017 Oct 9; cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 8 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/immunoglobulins/hw41342.html#hw41354
  12. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2018. Immunoglobulins: Test Overview [updated 2017 Oct 9; cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/immunoglobulins/hw41342.html
  13. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2018. Immunoglobulins: What Affects the Test [updated 2017 Oct 9; cited 2018 Feb 17]; [about 9 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/gamma-globulin-tests/hw41342.html#hw41355
  14. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2018. Immunoglobulins: Why It is Done [updated 2017 Oct 9; cited 2018 Jan 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/gamma-globulin-tests/hw41342.html#hw41349

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Testosterone Levels Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a testosterone levels test?

Testosterone is the main sex hormone in males. During a boy’s puberty, testosterone causes the growth of body hair, muscle development, and deepening of the voice. In adult men, it controls sex drive, maintains muscle mass, and helps make sperm. Women also have testosterone in their bodies, but in much smaller amounts.

This test measures the levels of testosterone in your blood. Most of the testosterone in the blood is attached to proteins. Testosterone that is not attached to a protein is called free testosterone. There are two main types of testosterone tests:

  • Total testosterone, which measures both attached and free testosterone.
  • Free testosterone, which measures just free testosterone. Free testosterone can give more information about certain medical conditions.

Testosterone levels that are too low (low T) or too high (high T) can cause health problems in both men and women.

Other names: serum testosterone, total testosterone, free testosterone, bioavailable testosterone

What is it used for?

A testosterone levels test may be used to diagnose several conditions, including:

Why do I need a testosterone levels test?

You may need this test if you have symptoms of abnormal testosterone levels. For adult men, it’s mostly ordered if there are symptoms of low T levels. For women, it’s mostly ordered if there are symptoms of high T levels.

Symptoms of low T levels in men include:

  • Low sex drive
  • Difficulty getting an erection
  • Development of breast tissue
  • Fertility problems
  • Hair loss
  • Weak bones
  • Loss of muscle mass

Symptoms of high T levels in women include:

  • Excess body and facial hair growth
  • Deepening of voice
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Acne
  • Weight gain

Boys may also need a testosterone levels test. In boys, delayed puberty can be a symptom of low T , while early puberty may be a symptom of high T.

What happens during a testosterone levels test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for a testosterone levels test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

Results mean different things depending on whether you are a man, woman, or boy.

For men:

  • High T levels may mean a tumor in the testicles or adrenal glands. Adrenal glands are located above the kidneys and help control heart rate, blood pressure, and other bodily functions.
  • Low T levels may mean a genetic or chronic disease, or a problem with the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a small organ in the brain that controls many functions, including growth and fertility.

For women:

For boys:

  • High T levels may mean cancer in the testicles or adrenal glands.
  • Low T levels in boys may mean there is some other problem with the testicles, including an injury.

If your results are not normal, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a medical condition needing treatment. Certain medicines, as well as alcoholism, can affect your results. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about a testosterone levels test?

Men who are diagnosed with low T levels may benefit from testosterone supplements, as prescribed by their health care provider. Testosterone supplements are not recommended for men with normal T levels. There is no proof they provide any benefits, and in fact they may be harmful to healthy men.

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Semen Analysis: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is a semen analysis?

A semen analysis, also called a sperm count, measures the quantity and quality of a man’s semen and sperm. Semen is the thick, white fluid released from the penis during a man’s sexual climax (orgasm). This release is called ejaculation. Semen contains sperm, the cells in a man that carry genetic material. When a sperm cell unites with an egg from a woman, it forms an embryo (the first stage of an unborn baby’s development).

A low sperm count or abnormal sperm shape or movement can make it difficult for a man to make a woman pregnant. The inability to conceive a baby is called infertility. Infertility can affect men and women. For about one-third of couples unable to have children, male infertility is the reason. A semen analysis can help figure out the cause of male infertility.

Other names: sperm count, sperm analysis, semen testing, male fertility test

What is it used for?

A semen analysis is used to find out if a problem with semen or sperm may be causing a man’s infertility. The test may also be used to see if a vasectomy has been successful. A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that is used to prevent pregnancy by blocking the release of sperm during sex.

Why do I need a semen analysis?

You may need a semen analysis if you and your partner have been trying to have a baby for at least 12 months without success.

If you’ve recently had a vasectomy, you may need this test to make sure the procedure has worked.

What happens during a semen analysis?

You will need to provide a semen sample. The most common way to provide your sample is to go to a private area in your health care provider’s office and masturbate into a sterile container. You should not use any lubricants. If masturbation is against your religious or other beliefs, you may be able to collect your sample during intercourse using a special type of condom. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns about providing your sample.

You will need to provide two or more additional samples within a week or two. That’s because sperm count and semen quality can vary from day to day.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You will need to avoid sexual activity, including masturbation, for 2–5 days before the sample is collected. This will help make sure your sperm count is at its highest level.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is no known risk to a semen analysis.

What do the results mean?

The results of a semen analysis include measurements of quantity and quality of semen and sperm. These include:

  • Volume: the amount of semen
  • Sperm count: the number of sperm per milliliter
  • Sperm movement, also known as motility
  • Sperm shape, also known as morphology
  • White blood cells, which may be a sign of an infection

If any of these results are not normal, it may mean there is problem with your fertility. But other factors, including the use of alcohol, tobacco, and some herbal medicines, can affect your results. If you have questions about your results or other concerns about your fertility, talk to your health care provider.

If your semen analysis was done to check the success of your vasectomy, your provider will look for the presence of any sperm. If no sperm is found, you and your partner should be able to stop using other forms of birth control. If sperm is found, you may need repeat testing until your sample is clear of sperm. In the meantime, you and your partner will have to take precautions in order to prevent pregnancy.

Is there anything else I need to know about a semen analysis?

Many male fertility problems can be treated. If your semen analysis results were not normal, your health care provider may order more tests to help figure out the best approach to treatment.

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ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information

 

What is an ANA (Antinuclear Antibody) Test?

An ANA test looks for antinuclear antibodies in your blood. If the test finds antinuclear antibodies in your blood, it may mean you have an autoimmune disorder. An autoimmune disorder causes your immune system to attack your own cells, tissues, and/or organs by mistake. These disorders can cause serious health problems.

Antibodies are proteins that your immune system makes to fight foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. But an antinuclear antibody attacks your own healthy cells instead. It’s called “antinuclear” because it targets the nucleus (center) of the cells.

Other names: antinuclear antibody panel, fluorescent antinuclear antibody, FANA, ANA

What is it used for?

An ANA test is used to help diagnose autoimmune disorders, including:

  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This is the most common type of lupus, a chronic disease affecting multiple parts of the body, including the joints, blood vessels, kidneys, and brain.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that causes pain and swelling of the joints, mostly in the hands and feet
  • Scleroderma, a rare disease affecting the skin, joints, and blood vessels
  • Sjogren’s syndrome, a rare disease affecting the body’s moisture-making glands

Why do I need an ANA test?

Your health care provider may order an ANA test if you have symptoms of lupus or another autoimmune disorder. These symptoms include:

What happens during an ANA test?

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don’t need any special preparations for an ANA test.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is very little risk to having a blood test. You may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

What do the results mean?

A positive result on an ANA test means that antinuclear antibodies were found in your blood. You may get a positive result if:

  • You have SLE (lupus).
  • You have a different type of autoimmune disease.
  • You have a viral infection.

A positive result doesn’t necessarily mean you have a disease. Some healthy people have antinuclear antibodies in their blood. In addition, certain medicines can affect your results.

If your ANA test results are positive, your health care provider will likely order more tests, especially if you have symptoms of disease. If you have questions about your results, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about an ANA test?

Antinuclear antibody levels tend to increase with age. As many as one-third of healthy adults over the age of 65 may have a positive ANA test result.

References

  1. American College of Rheumatology [Internet]. Atlanta: American College of Rheumatology; c2017. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA) [updated 2017 Mar; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Antinuclear-Antibodies-ANA
  2. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth’s Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANAS); 53 p.
  3. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2018. Antinuclear Antibody (ANA); [updated 2018 Feb 1; cited 2018 Feb 8]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/ana/tab/test
  4. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. Washington D.C.: American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2018. Scleroderma; [updated 2017 Sep 20; cited 2018 Feb 8]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/scleroderma
  5. Lupus Research Alliance [Internet]. New York: Lupus Research Alliance; c2017. About Lupus [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.lupusresearch.org/understanding-lupus/what-is-lupus/about-lupus
  6. Lupus Research Alliance [Internet]. New York: Lupus Research Alliance; c2017. Symptoms [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.lupusresearch.org/understanding-lupus/what-is-lupus/symptoms
  7. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co., Inc.; c2017. Sjögren’s Syndrome [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/autoimmune-disorders-of-connective-tissue/sj%C3%B6gren-syndrome
  8. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co., Inc.; c2017. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: http://www.merckmanuals.com/home/bone,-joint,-and-muscle-disorders/autoimmune-disorders-of-connective-tissue/systemic-lupus-erythematosus-sle
  9. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. ANA test: Overview; 2017 Aug 3 [cited Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ana-test/home/ovc-20344718
  10. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. ANA test: Results; 2017 Aug 3 [cited Nov 17]; [about 7 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ana-test/details/results/rsc-20344732
  11. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. ANA test: Why it’s done; 2017 Aug 3 [cited Nov 17]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ana-test/details/why-its-done/icc-20344722
  12. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Blood Tests; [cited 2018 Feb 8]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/blood-tests
  13. NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine: Genetics Home Reference [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; rheumatoid arthritis; 2017 Nov 14 [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/rheumatoid-arthritis
  14. UF Health: University of Florida Health [Internet]. University of Florida; c2017. Antinuclear antibody panel: Overview [updated 2017 Nov 17; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://ufhealth.org/antinuclear-antibody-panel
  15. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Antinuclear Antibody [cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=antinuclear_antibodies
  16. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2017. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA): Results [updated 2016 Oct 31; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 8 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/antinuclear-antibodies/hw2297.html#hw2323
  17. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2017. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA): Test Overview [updated 2016 Oct 31; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/antinuclear-antibodies/hw2297.html
  18. UW Health [Internet]. Madison (WI): University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority; c2017. Antinuclear Antibodies (ANA): Why It’s Done [updated 2016 Oct 31; cited 2017 Nov 17]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: https://www.uwhealth.org/health/topic/medicaltest/antinuclear-antibodies/hw2297.html#hw2304

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Multiple Sclerosis: An Overview | NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine

 

What is MS?

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a chronic disease that affects the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). A patient’s clinical course is difficult to predict.

It damages myelin, a substance that wraps around nerve fibers and helps protect them.

Damaged myelin exposes our nerve fiber and disrupts key communication between our nervous system and brain. This creates pain, coordination issues, vision problems, and more.

MS is considered to be an autoimmune disease, in which your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells in your body.

Know the symptoms

Multiple sclerosis signs and symptoms appear in many ways. They can range from minimal to disabling, depending on how much nerve damage there is and which nerves are affected.

The majority of MS patients are mildly affected, but in the worst cases, MS can make a person unable to write, speak, or walk.

MS symptoms usually appear in people between ages 20 and 40 and can include the following:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Red-green color distortion or blindness in one eye
  • Severe tiredness
  • Muscle weakness in hands or feet
  • Problems with coordination or balance
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Numbness or prickling “pins and needles” sensations
  • Speech problems
  • Tremors or dizziness
  • Hearing loss
  • Depression
  • Memory loss or difficulty concentrating

Check with a health care provider if you experience any or some of these symptoms and suspect it may be MS.

Treatment

Some people with MS do well without therapy, and in some cases, medications can have serious side effects. Some have major risks, which requires close monitoring. Unfortunately, MS can worsen slowly enough that patients are not always aware of it, and this can happen in the absence of new lesions in the brain or spinal cord.

SOURCES: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Opens new window National Multiple Sclerosis Society: Definition of MS Opens new window

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