This test is used to find out the Anti-Phospholipid Antibodies-IgM in the blood.
What are Antibodies?
Antibodies are the protective proteins produced by the immune system and also known as immunoglobulins. Antibodies are produced when any foreign substance or virus or bacteria enters into the body. These foreign substances are known as antigens. Antibodies recognize and attach to the antigens in order to remove them from the body. But in some cases, the immune system produces antibodies against own body cells or tissues and attacks the healthy cells.
What are Phospholipids?
Phospholipids are structural components of cell membranes and are important for the platelet function in blood clotting. Antiphospholipid syndrome APS is an autoimmune disorder and associated with the risk of abnormal blood clot formation. In this syndrome, antibodies attack the lipid-proteins found in the outermost layer od the cell membranes and platelets. This may lead to the blood clots in the veins and arteries, a low number of platelets and pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia, recurrent miscarriages etc.
Antibodies are in Y shaped and have two large heavy chains and two small light chains. It has Fc region at the bottom of Y. This Fc region is the part of the antibody which attaches to the antigen. Depending on the Fc region, the antibodies are of five (5) subtypes. They are IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD, IgE.
IgG provides long-term protection as it presents in the circulation for long period after the presence of an antigen. IgM is involved in the ABO blood group antigens on the red blood cells (RBC’s) surface. IgM also enhances the ingestion of cells by phagocytosis. IgA is also the first defense for intestine, lungs, and nose. They bind antigens to the microbes before they invade tissues and keeps antigens in secretion and when secretion is expelled, antigens are also expelled. IgD helps in the induction of antibody production and presents on the surface of B-cells. IgE binds to the basophils and mast cells.
Why this test is performed?
This test is performed to check the presence of Anti-phospholipid Antibodies IgM in blood. The doctor may ask you to undergo this test if you are suffering from conditions such as autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis, leukemia (blood cancer), pulmonary hypertension, livedo reticularis (a purplish discoloration of the skin), stroke etc. If any of your family members is suffering from APS it may increase the risk of developing APS for you. If symptoms like recurrent blood clots, low levels of thrombocytes, pain, and swelling in legs or arms, persistent headaches, seizures, memory loss, changes in speech, skin ulcers etc. are seen in an individual, then the doctor may recommend doing this test. If an individual is on the treatment of medications for APS, then the doctor may ask to perform this test to evaluate and to check the effectiveness of the treatment and Anti-Phospholipid Antibodies IgM levels in the blood. Mostly, this test is done along with other antibody tests to confirm the diagnosis.
This test is also done for pregnant women to find out the cause for unexplained fetal deaths, spontaneous abortions.
Drugs Such as oral contraceptives, procainamide, phenothiazines may change the levels of IgM in the blood and hence you are advised to inform all your current medications to the doctor prior to the test.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your Anti Phospholipid Antibodies IgM. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for Anti Phospholipid Antibodies IgM.
There are no specific preparations required for this test.
If the test results are negative it may indicate that there are no Anti-Phospholipid Antibodies IgM in the blood at the time of the test.
Low to moderate levels of Anti-Phospholipid Antibodies-IgM may occur due to HIV, Lyme disease (illness caused by bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi), and some kind of cancers.
If test results are more than the normal range it may indicate that there may be a chance for the presence of Anti-Phospholipid Antibodies-IgM in the blood which may occur due to Anti-Phospholipid Syndrome APS.
However, this test results cannot predict the chances for complications. So, the test is performed again after 12 weeks to confirm the presence of Anti-Phospholipid Antibodies -IgM.
|UNISEX||All age groups||The antibodies are positive in APLA, IgM - recent infection|