Blood Work for Autoimmune Diseases

Lab Tests

It seems the only way your health care team can determine if there is an issue with your health is to take blood samples, have a lab test them for certain things according to your ailments, and return the results.

Always make an appointment with whomever ordered your tests so that you can find out the results yourself and if there is something you need to do to correct anything that can be corrected. It may mean you have to go to another health care professional that might be more qualified to read those test results. For example, if you have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and you’ve been tested for it, the information from your blood test will determine if you need to see a Rheumatologist. The initial test you would have would be the Rheumatoid Factor (RF) which would come back as a positive result if you in fact have the disease. The Rheumatologist will likely then do more blood tests to get a better handle on your condition, such as: Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) reflects the degree of inflammation in the body; C-reactive protein (CRP) levels are an even better indication than ESR of the amount of inflammation present. They will then determine how serious your condition is and the right treatment that is needed.

In the case of RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis), the drugs you may be given will probably mean you will need to have monthly blood tests to keep an eye on liver and kidney levels, but they are very important to ensure you are taking the right drug and it isn’t hurting you in other ways.

Hashimoto’s Disease is another condition that requires blood testing to be done on at least a yearly basis. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroid around 1991 and have been on Synthroid from the beginning. Unfortunately, a few years ago I had to take a narcotic drug to deal with my Essential Tremor that caused my thyroid blood test numbers to go haywire! Well, it turned out that we were not paying attention to the correct numbers and it started me on a search for the “right dosage” of my thyroid medication. As it turned out I had been taking the correct dosage all along, just the numbers had been thrown off by the narcotic drug in my system. When being tested for thyroid disorder the things that must be checked are TSH, T3 and T4. As I’m not a doctor and do not quite know all the information you should be paying attention to, I will point you in the right direction for that information here.

Unfortunately, Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. The only way for you to find out if you have Hashimoto’s is to have your thyroid antibodies tested, which a traditional doctor does not normally test for. The two antibodies to be tested are: Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPOAb) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies (TgAb). The Endocrinologist will test for these things. I found out rather recently that I have Hashimoto’s by going to my Endocrinologist where he did an ultrasound on my thyroid and told me then and there that 1/2 of my thyroid was GONE and the other have was full of holes. That, he told me later, was how he knew it was Hashimoto’s! He sent me for these tests to ensure his diagnosis was correct and it was.

After being told this, I was not a very happy person as I knew that my immune system had been attacking at least my thyroid gland for a very long time and I was not the least bit aware of it! If you have thyroid disease symptoms, please have the proper tests done. What symptoms should you look for: feel cold all the time, constantly fatigued, have brain fog, hair loss, weight gain, muscle weakness, frequent infections, dry skin, constipation, irregular menstrual cycle. Get Tested!

Although my Essential Tremor doesn’t have a “cause” or proper “treatment”, I am absolutely sure it is also an autoimmune issue as it didn’t actually start affecting my life until about 1995-96, when my head tremors started to appear (well after my thyroid disease started and long after I had asthma, eczema and allergies as a kid). I knew as a teenager there was a problem that was not diagnosed because I always had a problem whenever I was placed under any type of “pressure or stressful” situation – my hands would shake uncontrollably and I could not stop them until the situation was either rectified or until I had calmed down. That has been an issue for me throughout my entire life. My ET gets really bad now whenever I am under any type of stress, and my head shakes pretty much constantly. The drug I am on to help “alleviate” the tremors does an “all right” job, but is not totally effective. ET doesn’t have any “blood-work” that can be done to test for it as there is no way to determine it that way. And diet doesn’t seem to alter it in any way. The IETF (International Essential Tremor Foundation) is working to find genetic similarities within families to determine why some members may have the disease and others in the same family do not.

How do you know if it’s Essential Tremor or Parkinson’s Disease? Parkinson’s tremors are at rest tremors, ET’s tremors are activated during action (writing, cooking, or doing anything with the hands).

Modern Science is learning more that autoimmune disease comes in many forms. Healthline.com has a list of the most common autoimmune diseases which I am linking to here, and the list will continue to get longer as they learn of diseases that have yet to be considered autoimmune.

Most people do not consider that their diets have anything at all to do with their health issues, but let me assure you that is so very far from the truth. What goes into your mouth goes into your body and affects every cell and organ. For example, your skin is the largest organ in your body. If you have skin problems/issues, look at your diet. Change what you eat and it will change how your skin reacts. Chemicals will also affect your skin. Look at what you put on your skin. What do you clean with? Harsh chemicals will also affect your skin. I’m only looking at your skin here – what about the rest of your body? Big subject! So I won’t go into that right now, but stay tuned, I’m far from finished yet!

Have a blessed day and week.

 

Author: Louise Gagne

I'm a retired senior who has found out that my diet was causing a number of health issues. Since becoming aware of this, I have decided to create this blog to help others in similar circumstances,

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