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How To Read An Allergy Blood Test Report

Understanding Which Protein Is The Problem

Allergy Testing Explained

The stability or lability of the protein and the amount of it contained within the allergen source are two highly important contributing factors.

Stability:â¯Protein families of components present in plants are ranked by their stability. The degree of stability is shared within a protein family. For instance, the families of storage proteins are very stable proteins. Proteins within the profilin and PR-10 families, on the other hand, are more labile proteins.15

Lability:â¯Labile proteins are easily broken down by processing or cooking, or by enzymes in the saliva or gut. They will therefore primarily give rise to local reactions when ingested. Stable proteins, on the other hand, will reach the circulation in a more or less intact form and therefore potentially give rise to systemic reactions.15

Some proteins with similar structures and functions across species are widely distributed in many allergen sources. These proteins may therefore cause cross-reactive IgE antibodies that bind to more than one allergen source. Understanding cross-reactions between species can help healthcare providers understand multiple sensitizations, such as those seen in Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome.

What Is A Type I Hypersensitivity Reaction

Following exposure and re-exposure to an antigen in susceptible individuals, a type I, or immediate, allergic reaction involves antigen-presenting cells, the activation of T-helper cells, the stimulation of B cells that release specific IgE, and the release of various pharmacological mediators from mast cells and basophils. The release of the mediators causes symptoms such as sneezing, wheezing, and weals.

Type 1 IgE-mediated hypersensitivity reaction pathway

Credit: Gaurab Karki, Microbiologist Kathmandu, via Online Biology Notes.

How To Read Blood Test Results

It does matter if you are a marathon maven or a CrossFit champion, you should never overlook the importance of getting a regular checkup. While many people understand the importance of getting a regular checkup, they still have little information about how to read blood test results. By getting information about how to read these tests, you will get an idea about how well your organs are working. Keep reading to discover more.

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Ige To Specific Allergens

These tests are highly specific . IgE responses to more than 1000 allergens can be measured. The specific IgE results are quantitative. Results are expressed as kUA/L IgE. The tests are calibrated using the same standard used for total IgE and thus, at least in theory, the sum of all specific IgEs should equate to the total IgE.

Tests for IgE against specific allergens are very sensitive with a weak positive response defined > 0.35k kUA/L. Great care should be taken in assuming that a low level of IgE against a specific allergen, say 1.0 kUA/L is the cause of a reaction to an allergen suggested by the patient. Clearly in a patient with a total IgE of > 5000kU/L, 1.0 kUA/L IgE against any allergen represents a tiny proportion of the total IgE suggesting that IgE responses to other allergens could be more likely causes of clinical symptoms.

An atopic patient with a very high level of total IgE will usually have a high level of IgE antibodies to many different specific allergens. Therefore, there is no point in these cases in doing multiple specific laboratory allergen tests, the specific allergens causing symptoms are likely to be defined more efficiently from a good clinical history.

How To Prepare For An Allergy Skin Test

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  • The doctor will always ask their patient detailed questions concerning their medical history. The skin signs and symptoms from any allergy they have been exposed to before and how they always treat them. These questions are for helping the doctor if the condition of having allergic reactions runs in the patients family. They can also assist in determining the most likely cause of the symptoms.
  • The examiner or doctor may also carry out a physical test to look for more signs for the cause of the patients signs and symptoms.
  • The doctor or examiner requires the patient to bring them all the prescriptions or over-the-counter medications they are currently prescribed to or use. This is in order to see if the current drugs they are using can hinder the true results of the tests since some do. Other medications may lead to the patient suffering from extreme cases of allergic reactions during the test.
  • The examiner or doctor may ask the doctor to stop using the drugs for a period of about ten days so as to clear out of their body systems. The ten days period is for making sure that the body system is clear of the drugs since each type of drugs clear out of the body at different rates.

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What Happens During An Allergy Blood Test

An allergy blood test only takes a few minutes. A healthcare provider called a lab technician usually takes blood samples in your doctors office or a lab.

Heres what you can expect:

  • The phlebotomist takes blood from a vein in your arm using a thin needle.
  • The needle might cause a mild pinch and some discomfort.
  • The phlebotomist fills a collection tube with blood and then removes the needle.
  • They place a small bandage on your arm.

How Are Ige Levels Reported

The total IgE reference range depends on the age of the individual .

The result of a specific IgE test is reported for a grouped allergen mix or an individual allergen. The table below shows how the results are typically rated and interpreted .

Table. IgE level test ratings and interpretations
Rating of specific IgE level Grade/Class
VI Extremely likely

This table shows arbitrary international reference figures. The actual reference range and grading vary with the laboratory and are based on the method used for the test, calibration, the age of the patient, and the type of allergens.

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Class 2 Allergy To Dogs

A Class 2 allergy is a positive result, with IgE antibodies in the blood between 0.71 and 3.50. Its the least severe conclusively positive result.

When a person has a Class 2 allergy, they can expect their allergic reactions to be mild and easily treated. Its common for people to experience a runny nose and watery eyes.

Other symptoms, like coughing and shortness of breath, may occur less frequently.

A person with a Class 2 allergy to dogs would generally only experience allergies after coming into physical contact with a dog.

They may also have a mild allergic reaction if theres a great deal of dog dander in their environment.

However, these allergies can generally be treated through over-the-counter medications, without the need for immunotherapy or prescription medications.

Allergy Blood Test Vs Allergy Skin Test: Whats The Difference

ALLERGY TESTING BLOOD RESULTS!

Allergy blood tests and allergy skin tests are two of the most common forms of allergy testing. During an allergy skin test, your healthcare provider creates tiny pinpricks in your skin and then applies an allergen to check for a reaction.

Skin tests deliver immediate results, but blood tests take a few days. Skin tests tend to be more accurate, but some people cant have allergy skin tests. If you have a skin condition such as hives or a rash, or youre taking antihistamines, allergy skin tests wont deliver reliable results. In these cases, you may need an allergy blood test.

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Types Of White Blood Cells

Oddly, the results for the five types of white blood cells basophils, eosinophils, neutrophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes often appear below the list of red blood cell results.

Measuring the amounts and health of these cells is helpful in identifying infections and allergies.

For example, neutrophils are like the EMTs of your blood. Theyre immune cells that are among the first to arrive at the site of an infection. Basophils, another type of immune cell, have small particles with enzymes that are released during allergic reactions and asthma.

What Is An Ige Test

An IgE test is a blood test that detects circulating IgE. The test includes two types of test:

  • Testing for total IgE the total level of IgE in the blood.
  • Testing for specific IgE the level of specific IgE against a particular allergen.
  • Total IgE and specific IgE tests can be ordered at the same time or independently.

    IgE levels can be measured using one of several methods. The use of the radioallergosorbent test to measure IgE has been superseded by the use of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays , fluorescent enzyme immunoassays , and chemiluminescent immunoassays .

    IgE blood tests

    The colour of the top of the tube denotes what tests it is suitable for. In this case, the tube with the gold top is used for IgE tests.

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    How Are Allergy Blood Tests Performed

    Many of us will have had a blood test at some point in our lives. A small amount of your blood is taken from a vein in your arm or a finger and sent to a lab for analysis. Collecting a blood sample is usually only temporarily uncomfortable.

    Your blood sample will be sent to a laboratory and tested against the allergens your doctor has chosen for the test. When your allergy blood test results are ready you will need to go back to your health care provider to discuss them.

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    The gold standard for food allergy testing is the oral food challenge, which is a medically supervised, gradual process of introducing a food allergen to a patient in order to diagnose or rule out a food allergy.

    The doctor may also use an Immunoglobulin blood test, which measures the presence of allergen-specific IgE antibodies in your blood after being exposed to a food allergen. The immune system makes antibodies to fight the food allergens that it mistakes as invaders. The blood test can test for common food allergies, as well as different mixes of allergens.

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    Limitations Of Rast Testing

    One of the central roles of the immune system is to produce proteins called antibodies to fight any substance or organism it views as a threat. When you have an allergy, your immune system will mistakenly regard a harmless substance as a threat and produce immunoglobulin E antibodies specific to that allergen.

    When your healthcare provider orders a RAST test, you will be asked to provide a blood sample. The lab will then use the RAST technology to look for allergen-specific IgE antibodies, the results of which they will list in a lab report.

    As straightforward as this may seem, the RAST test has its definite limitations. While a RAST test can detect the concentration of IgE antibodies in your blood, it cannot predict how you will respond to the allergen it is associated with.

    In the end, not everyone with the same concentration of antibodies will react in the same way. In some cases, a person with a relatively low concentration will have a severe reaction when confronted with an allergen.

    On the flip side, someone with a high concentration may react mildly or not at all.

    With that being said, people with low concentrations of allergen-specific antibodies tend to have a low chance of reacting to a possible allergen in real life, especially if a skin prick test is also negative.

    Types Of Allergy Tests

    1) Prick test

    The prick test works on the principle of activating IgE antibodies on the skins mast cells. Allergens in the form of liquid droplets are placed on the skin surface least 2 cm apart on the flexor aspect of the forearm. A sterile needle or lancet is introduced into the skin through the droplet, and the needle then pushes the allergen into the dermis. A new lancet is used for every allergen to prevent contamination. An alternative method is the intradermal test, where a small amount of an allergen is injected directly into the dermis using a syringe and needle. Both techniques require a positive and a negative control.

    Indications for the prick test:,

    • Suspected food allergy that cannot be determined from food elimination or challenge.

    • Poorly controlled or frequent exacerbation of allergic rhinitis, rhinosinusitis, eczema or bronchial asthma, where identifying and avoiding allergens may improve the condition.

    • Suspected or previous allergy to a drug such as penicillin .

    Food allergy commonly presents as acute urticaria, angioedema or gastrointestinal symptoms. Chronic urticaria is rarely due to an allergic reaction hence, allergy testing is not beneficial in these cases.

    Precautions and contraindications for the prick test:,

    2) Serologic testing

    Indications for serum IgE testing:

    Post-prick test and serum IgE test

    3) Patch test

    Indications for the patch test:

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    When Should Allergy Blood Tests Be Done

    If your allergy symptoms are mild and the cause is obvious, your health care provider will be able to offer advice and discuss treatment options with you. But you may be referred for an allergy blood test of a specific range of triggers if your allergy is more severe or its not clear whats causing your symptoms.

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    Millions of Americans have allergies. You might sniffle and sneeze as the seasons change or get itchy and teary-eyed when you dust the house or pet an animal. Perhaps you start wheezing when you eat a particular food.

    Allergyblood testing can help reveal what triggers your allergy symptoms and help your doctor choose the best treatment for you.

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    Side Effects Of Allergy Blood Tests

    Allergy blood testing is relatively safe. Side effects are usually minor and may include:

    • Swelling and redness at the site where the needle was inserted
    • Pain
    • Bleeding at the site where the needle was inserted

    There is a potential that some people may faint during any type of blood testing.

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    Advantages Of Allergy Blood Tests

    In most cases, an allergy skin test is the most preferred method of allergy testing. However, there are a few reasons that the skin test cannot be done. For example, if you have a serious, life-threatening allergy, it is not safe to put you in contact with the allergen. There are a variety of medications that may also interfere with test results, such as steroids, antidepressants, or antihistamines. Some people may not also be able to handle the multiple needle scratches that are required for skin testing. Other conditions such as asthma, heart conditions, or severe skin conditions may also require blood testing. A blood test can also show your allergist if you have outgrown your allergy or if immunotherapy is working.

    A blood test can be done at any time, regardless of the medication that you are currently on. It is also more appealing to people that are afraid of needles, as there is only one needle involved instead of multiple in the skin test. It is also easier to complete in young children.

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    Platelets And Mean Platelet Value

    These two tests usually appear next. Platelets are fragments of blood cells. They help wounds heal and prevent excessive bleeding by forming clots.

    A low platelet count below 150,000 platelets per microliter can indicate risk for excessive bleeding, while a high count may indicate a risk for blood clots.

    The mean platelet value test measures the average amount of platelets. It can help diagnose bleeding and bone marrow disorders and offer clues to inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Korniluk A, et al. . Mean platelet volume : New perspectives for an old marker in the course and prognosis of inflammatory conditions. DOI: 10.1155/2019/9213074

    Why Choose An Allergy Blood Test

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    A blood test may be a better option for people who are not able to stop taking their medications. In some cases, medications will interfere with the accuracy of a skin test therefore, a blood test is the better option. In people with severe skin disorders or if your skin reacts to almost anything, it is very difficult to read a skin test, so a blood test is much easier to read.

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    Getting The Most From Your Blood Test Results

    There are quite a few more tests available, but the ones included here are among the most common.

    To get accurate readings, be sure to follow your doctors instructions in preparing for tests. You may, for example, be asked not to eat and to drink only water for anywhere from a few hours to 12 hours beforehand.

    Please follow these instructions, or your results may be skewed, requiring additional tests or even unnecessary medications.

    If you dont understand something in your results, remember its okay to ask questions. Doctors are busy people, but you are entitled to the information. If your doctor cant provide it, ask the nurse or physicians assistant for help.

    Knowing where you stand with these important parameters is essential for being proactive and owning your own health.We hope you find this guide handy and helpful the next time your doctor orders a blood panel.

    Take good care.

    Disclaimer: Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

    Feb 23, 2021Originally Published: August 20, 2012

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    At Oak Brook Allergists, our board-certified allergists do not leave you to figure out your food allergies and interpret the results of various tests yourself. We are with you every step of the way. Our team is experienced in diagnosing and treating food allergies in adult and pediatric patients.

    To schedule an appointment with an allergist, call us today at 574-0460 or use our online request form. We look forward to helping you successfully manage your food allergies.

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