Fight off infection with an Immunology lab test.
Immunology laboratory tests are performed to get an idea of the condition of your immune system. If you have been unable to fight off an infection, your doctor may order these tests to find out why.
- Immunology tests are also performed to investigate the presence of autoimmune disorders.
- An immunology test can also diagnose certain diseases, such as AIDS, after you have had other testing.
Types of Immunology Clinical Laboratory Tests
There are many types of immunology tests that may be ordered. Immune globulin tests measure different types of antibodies. These clinical studies include IgG, IgA and IgM tests. If you are being checked for autoimmune diseases, your doctor may order specific antibody tests such as rheumatoid antibody or anti-thyroid antibodies. Infectious disease serology tests are also part of immunology. These tests include assays for measles, mumps, rubella, toxoplasmosis, Lyme disease and shingles.
How the Test is Performed
An immunology test is similar to other blood tests, although you do not typically need to fast for these tests. The phlebotomist identifies a suitable vein on your arm and cleans that part of your skin. A small needle attached to tubing and a collection tube is used to draw a small sample of your blood. The tube is labeled with your identifying information and the sample is stored properly until it is processed. The testing process may take up to three days if it is necessary to grow any cells.
Who May Need Clinical Immunology Laboratory Tests
Immunology tests are performed if you have been ill and other tests have not been able to determine a cause. Your doctor may also order clinical laboratory testing for immune conditions if you had an illness such as Lyme disease and the doctor is unsure if your immune system has conquered the infection or not. These tests can also be used to diagnose allergies. If you are traveling to another country or considering pregnancy, your doctor may want to check your immunity to certain infectious diseases, such as measles. If you are undergoing an immune system suppression therapy, such as for an organ transplant or cancer treatment, your doctor may order these tests to check on how well the medications are working. If you have a disorder of the immune system, you may need these tests to monitor your condition.
Understanding Immunology Test Results
When your doctor receives your clinical immunology test results, he or she will discuss them with you. If there are any abnormalities, your doctor may make recommendations such as a change in your medication. Abnormal test results may also necessitate some follow-up testing to see if the abnormality persists or worsens. If the test shows that you have a condition that you are not being treated for, your doctor may discuss different treatment options with you.