The IgE Test Explained: Screening For Food Allergies

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a type of antibody carried by humans and other mammals. It figures prominently in immunity responses and plays a pivotal role in allergic conditions like food allergy and anaphylactic shock. The antibody binds with the antigen. Mast cells then release histamine, and the allergic response occurs.

IgE Levels Read the Number of Antibodies in the Blood

An IgE test measures the blood level of the antibodies, a family of proteins referred to as gamma globulins. Antibodies are important weapons used by the immune system to detect and respond to the invasion of foreign substances like bacteria, viruses, and allergens.

IgE Triggers Allergic Responses

IgE is the primary mediator that stimulates the release of inflammatory agents in mast cells, such as histamine and leukotrienes. IgE also triggers the most devastating of allergic reactions, like anaphylactic shock.

Tests Need to be Interpreted by a Medical Professional

The IgE test may be done to screen for allergies. It is performed by taking a blood sample, which is sent to a lab for testing. The results are processed in a few days. An IgE test will tell you to what degree the body reacts to various types of food or particles and other allergies. A low score does not necessarily mean that a food is safe, but a high score definitely means there is a problem. An unusually low level can actually indicate a rare autoimmune disorder.

Low, Normal and High IgE Levels

A low IgE level is something like 4.2 units per milliliter. A high IgE level is above 592 units per milliliter. These high numbers could indicate an infection, cancer, allergic reactions or an autoimmune disease. Lots of things can trigger an elevated level, including animal dander, cockroaches, dust mites, mold, or airborne allergens. A normal IgE level is 4.2-595 U/mL, or 0.05 percent of the IgG concentration.

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