Pathology Laboratory

What is the IgE Test? Immunoglobulin E (IgE) Test

Last updated on October 20th, 2022 at 07:53 am

IgE test is to screen for an allergic disease; sometimes to screen for a parasitic infection.

What is the IgE Test?

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is an antibody that is produced by the body’s immune system in response to a perceived threat. It is one of five classes of immunoglobulins (A, G, M, D, and E) and is normally present in the blood in minimal amounts. IgE test measures the amount of IgE in the blood.

Immunoglobulins are proteins that play a key role in the body’s immune system. They are produced by specific immune cells called plasma cells. Immunoglobulins are produced in response to bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms, and substances that are recognized as “non-self” or present harmful antigens to the immune system.

Immunoglobulin E is associated with allergic responses, including asthma, and to a lesser immunity to parasites. With allergies, the body overreacts to one or more substances in the environment called allergens that rarely cause a response in other people. Someone may develop an allergy when that person is exposed to an allergen, such as plant pollen, peanuts, eggs, strawberries, bee venom, and hundreds of other potential substances.

During initial exposure, also called sensitization, an allergic person produces an IgE specifically directed against that allergen. IgE binds to specialized white blood cells, resulting in the release of several substances, including histamine. In allergic or asthmatic people, this can cause constriction of the bronchi in the lungs. These substances are also responsible for the running nose, itchy eyes, and skin itching that occur in people with allergies.

Each time an allergic person is exposed to specific allergens after the initial exposure, IgE is rapidly produced, increasing to levels that trigger an allergic reaction. The severity of the reaction and symptoms associated with each episode can range from a localized reddening and itching of the skin to respiratory distress to vomiting and diarrhoea, and sometimes, to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

The severity will vary from person to person, can vary from episode to episode, and may worsen. The total IgE test measures the overall quantity of immunoglobulin E in the blood, not the amount of a specific type. It can detect an allergic response in the body rather than a specific allergy. This test may complement the information provided by allergy tests, e.g. complete allergy profile (CAP), that detect allergen-specific IgE.

Will IgE Test Identify Which Specific Allergy I Have?

To identify specific allergies, a doctor must advise tests that detect allergen-specific IgE. If a person is suspected of having an allergy to cats, then cat dander, IgE test must be ordered. If the person has an allergy to dogs, it will not be detected with this test. For this reason, a lab technician may screen with a total IgE test, then run panels of substance-specific IgE tests. These panels may include a range of common allergens or similar types of allergens, such as various grasses, pollen, moulds, pet dander, and/or foods.

A person’s symptoms during an allergic episode do not correlate with that person’s total IgE level.

Infrequently, an IgE test may be advised to help diagnose a very rare inherited disease called hyper-immunoglobulin E syndrome (Job syndrome). People with this disease often have significantly higher than normal IgE levels and may have eczema, recurrent sinus and lung infections, bone defects, and severe skin infections. An increased IgE concentration may show that an individual has inherited this condition. Additional testing can be performed to detect a mutation in the STAT3 gene that has been associated with this disorder.

Rarely, the IgE test is used to help diagnose and monitor multiple myeloma that produces monoclonal IgE.

Learn about blood sugar level test

IgE Test for Allergy Diagnosis

What does the IgE Test Result Mean?

An increased total IgE level shows it is likely that a person has one or more allergies. Allergen-specific IgE levels will increase after exposure and then decline over time, thus affecting the total IgE level. If a person is allergic to a seasonal substance, such as pollen, then both the specific IgE and total IgE would be expected to increase during the time of year when the allergen is present.

If someone has one or more food allergies, then the total IgE level would mirror exposures to these foods. If someone is allergic to something that they are constantly around, such as a mould in a house or cat dander, then the total IgE level may be persistently increased.

An elevated level of total IgE shows an allergic process is a likely present, but it will not show what a person is allergic to. The greater the number of things a person is allergic to, the higher the total IgE level may be. An IgE elevation can also show a parasitic infection but cannot be used to determine the type of infection.

A normal IgE level makes it less likely that a person has allergies but does not rule them out because of the time between exposures. In between exposures, a person’s IgE level may drop.

Sometimes an individual has a condition that affects the immune system and will not produce normal amounts of immunoglobulins. Here, a person could have an allergy that is not reflected by the total IgE test result.

IgE Test Normal Range in IU/ml

IgE Test Normal RangeIgE Test Result Interpretation
Upto 60 IU/ml1-5 years
5-90 IU/mL5 – 10 Years
20-200 IU/mL10 -16 Years
158 IU/mLAll Adults
0 to 100 IU/mlInfants in the first year of life
*IgE Test Reference range may vary from lab to lab and test units used
  1. When to Get IgE Tested?

    When you have periodic or persistent skin, lung, or digestive symptoms that suggest allergies or when your doctor suspects a parasitic infection.

  2. Which Sample Collected for the IgE Test?

    For the IgE Test, a blood sample is got by inserting a needle into a vein in the arm.

  3. Are Any Special Preparations Required for the IgE Test?

    No, no special test preparation is needed for the IgE test.

  4. How IgE Test Result Used for Allergy Diagnosis?

    The total IgE test may help screen for and detect allergic diseases. It measures the overall quantity of immunoglobulin E in the blood. It may be ordered by itself, before, or along with allergen-specific IgE tests or complete allergy blood test, depending upon whether a person or the doctor has identified potential substances to which the person may be allergic.
    Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is an antibody that is produced by the body’s immune system in response to a perceived threat. It is one of five classes of immunoglobulins and is normally present in the blood in tiny amounts. IgE is associated with allergic responses, including asthma, and to a lesser immunity to parasites. IgE can be increased with parasitic infections, so a total IgE test is sometimes used as a screening test if a parasitic infection is suspected.

  5. When The Doctor Advice For IgE Test?

    A total IgE test may be advised when a person has periodic or persistent symptoms that may be because of an allergic reaction, especially when the potential allergen is unknown. Symptoms may include those that suggest skin, respiratory, or digestive involvement, such as periodic or persistent itching, hives, itchy eyes, eczema, nausea, vomiting, persistent diarrhoea, sneezing, coughing, congestion. Difficulty breathing, asthma symptoms like wheezing, breathlessness, coughing, tightness in the chest.
    Sometimes an IgE may be advised as a screening test when a person has persistent diarrhoea that may be because of a parasitic infection. In addition, a complete blood count (CBC) with white blood cell differential may be ordered to determine if the number of eosinophils is increased. This test is called the absolute eosinophils count test 

  6. How Can I Lower My IgE Level?

    Other than limiting your exposure to things that you are allergic to, no. The total IgE concentration is not influenced by lifestyle changes, and lowering it would not affect the number or type of allergies that you have.

  7. Can I Get IgE Test Done at Doctor’s Clinic?

    Sometimes, it might be available in a hospital or clinic, such as with a doctor who specializes in allergies, but in most cases, it will be performed in a laboratory. healthcare nt sickcare laboratory in Pune is the best place to get your IgE test done.

  8. How Effective is The Skin Test for Allergies?

    The skin of the arm or back is pricked with a needle containing a specific allergen, causing a red swelling when positive. It is very specific, but requires multiple skin pricks for each type of allergen to be tested and must be interpreted by a trained specialist. The most advanced test for allergies is IgE based Complete Allergy Blood Test.

  9. Where I Can Get IgE Test Done in Pune?

    healthcare nt sickcare laboratory is the best laboratory, serving in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad for IgE test and all allergy-related blood tests.

You may also interest to read about; Blood Test.

Reference: LabTestOnline

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