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Immunoglobulin A (IgA) is a glycoprotein that plays a critical role in mucosal immunity. More IgA is produced in mucosal linings than all other immunoglobulins (IgG,IgM,IgE), combined; between 3 and 5g are secreted into the intestinal lumen each day. IgA, in its secretory form, is the main immunoglobulin found in mucous secretions, including tears, saliva, colostrum, intestinal juice, vaginal fluid and secretions from the prostate and respiratory epithelium. It is also found in small amounts in blood. Because it is resistant to degradation by enzymes, secretory IgA can survive in harsh environments such as the digestive and respiratory tracts, thus providing a first line of defense against pathogens that multiply in body secretions.

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Purpose of the test

The immunoglobulins blood test measures the amount of immunoglobulins, also known as antibodies, in your blood. These antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system to combat germs such as viruses and bacteria. The test typically evaluates three primary types of immunoglobulins: IgM, IgG, and IgA. Each of these antibodies has a unique role in protecting the body from infections. The test helps in diagnosing various health conditions that might affect the immune system.

Who Should Get Tested

Individuals might require an immunoglobulins blood test if they frequently experience infections or symptoms suggesting their immunoglobulin levels might be low, indicating an immunodeficiency. Symptoms of low immunoglobulin levels include repeated sinus, throat, and ear infections, respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis, and severe infections from germs that don't typically affect healthy individuals. The test is also recommended for those with a family history of immunodeficiency or if there's a suspicion of autoimmune diseases or certain cancers affecting the blood, bone marrow, or immune system.

Preparing for the Test
Depending on the type of cholesterol test, you may be required to fast for 9 to 12 hours before the test. This means avoiding all food and drinks except water. Fasting is usually required for a lipid panel, which measures LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Inform your healthcare provider about any medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, as they can affect your test results.
Avoid alcohol consumption for at least 24 hours before the test, as alcohol can raise triglyceride levels.
Avoid heavy exercise for 24 hours before the test, as this can also affect cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Avoid smoking or using any nicotine products for at least 30 minutes before the test, as they can temporarily increase cholesterol levels.
Follow instructions
Follow any specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider, such as the time of day to take the test or any dietary restrictions.
Interpreting Test Results

The results will compare the levels of IgM, IgG, and IgA in the blood. Abnormal levels can indicate various health conditions. Low levels might be due to conditions that reduce protein in the body, complications from diseases like diabetes, or genetic disorders. High levels might be indicative of autoimmune diseases, chronic infections, or certain cancers. It's essential to note that an immunoglobulins blood test alone cannot diagnose conditions. If results are abnormal, further testing might be required to determine the cause. It's crucial to discuss the results with a healthcare provider for a comprehensive understanding.

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