Dec 13 , 2022
As the prevalence of autoimmune disease increases in our communities, so does our understanding of the inner workings of these disorders. With this greater understanding has come the identification of autoantibodies. These proteins play a significant role in autoimmune disease and have become a critical tool in many diagnoses.
What are Autoantibodies?
Put simply, autoantibodies are proteins in our body that mistakenly attack healthy cells, or autoantigens. It is believed that most people have autoantibodies present in their systems, but healthy individuals are typically able to manage them without disease taking over. When the autoantibodies get out of control, autoimmune disease presents itself.
Where Do Autoantibodies Come From?
Autoantibodies are believed to form either randomly or when triggered by a foreign substance in the body. Usually, our body is able to recognize healthy vs. unhealthy cells. But in the case of autoantibodies, the immune system mistakes healthy cells as unhealthy and allows further production of additional autoantibodies.
Who Has Autoantibodies?
What predisposes a person to produce an unhealthy level of autoantibodies is still not fully understood. However, there are certain factors that have been identified that increase a person’s risk of developing autoantibodies including gender, genetics, environmental factors, and certain viral infections.
How are Autoantibodies Measured?
Autoantibodies have quickly become one of the main measures for diagnosing autoimmune disease. There are now hundreds of tests that can be run to measure autoantibody levels, but the most common is known as the ANA (anti-nuclear antibody) test. This test takes a patient’s serum and is able to show the presence or absence of autoantibodies using ultraviolet lighting. Other autoantibody tests include radioimmunoassay, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblotting.
How Are Autoantibodies Managed?
Managing levels of autoantibodies is complex, but for many forms of autoimmune diseases, it is possible to regain control of autoantibody production. Reducing stress levels, proper exercise and restricting certain foods can have a huge impact. Certain medications and therapies are also showing promise in reducing or stopping the production of harmful autoantibodies.
What to Do Next
If you believe you are being affected by autoimmune disease, understanding the root cause of your symptoms can help set you down the right path to wellness. An ID30 at-home test kit offers the most comprehensive report available, detailing over 30+ markers for autoimmune disease. With this information in hand, it becomes easier to create your wellness plan and begin to make changes in your life that will offer relief from your autoimmune disease symptoms.