How do you test for autoimmunity? What are the tests that you can, do? Do you only do medical tests or are there other kinds of tests that you can do?
There are many types of tests you can do for autoimmunity. It really depends what you’re trying to achieve, what you’re looking for. If you go to the doctor, for example, you can do antibody testing, antinuclear antibody, ANA, is a common test. So that will show if your immune system is starting to go haywire or starting to attack itself. That’s quite a good starting test often. There’s also RF, or rheumatoid factor, that’s a specific one for an antibody production for rheumatoid arthritis. So different autoimmune conditions may have specific markers, antibody markers that the doctor will check for. For celiac’s there are specific markers, for Sjogren’s there are specific markers, for example, so inflammation markers.
They’re also nonspecific ones like ESR or erythrocyte sedimentation rate. ESR is a common one just to sort of gauge how the disease is going, if the person is inflaming a bit here or there or if it’s dropping off. So often through treatment phases, the doctor can see if you’re in remission or if the disease is powering ahead through studies like ESR.
They’re also more highly specialized kinds of studies called cytokine studies where doctors can look more specifically at proteins that had been produced by white blood cells in response to inflammation, and these are called, for example, interleukin studies or tumor necrosis factor studies. These are more highly specialized and advanced tests that some doctors may perform or specialists.
But there are plenty of other tests you can do. For example, you could also do stool testing, all right. Now stool testing is going to give you a great idea on the health of the microbiome. It’s going to show you if there’s any dysbiotic flora that need cleaning up, any bad bacteria or any bad yeast numbers. It’ll also show you if there’s inflammation in the gut and what the status of your immune system is like in your digestive system. And that’s called a comprehensive stool analysis or comprehensive digestive stool analysis.
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So Doctor’s Data in Chicago do a new test now called the GI360, which I think is fantastic. In my opinion, every autoimmune patient would best to do a stool test to determine the health of their gut and then make some changes, improve the function of their gut to improve their immune status. That’s the whole idea of doing that.
So hair analysis is another test, for example, small samples of the hair from the nape of the neck to see if there’s any toxic compounds in the body. Because remember, toxins can also be a big trigger.
There’s also adrenal testing you can do, especially if you suffer from stress or have had post traumatic stress disorder or have had a really gnarly kind of a lifestyle of something bad’s happened or if you think that you’re the type of person that needs assessing.
You can do salivary cortisol testing to determine where your stress responses are to see if you’re in fight or flight predominantly or if you’re more in the rest and digest.
But you need to see a naturopathic doctor or integrative doctor and discuss with her or him the applicability of these tests and what can be done. But getting testing done early on is clever because it’ll give you a baseline. And then having testing done regularly at intervals to see in which direction you’re going.
It’s pretty hard to go anywhere these days without Google maps or things like that. And in my opinion, without testing, it’s like the dark ages without mobile phones.