Did you know that IBD affects an estimated 25 to 45 million Americans? Irritable bowel disease (also referred to as IBD) is a painful condition that can cause discomfort in your abdomen area, as well as difficulty with your bowel habits.
Are you at risk of developing inflammatory bowel disease because of your family history, or are you interested in receiving testing based on the symptoms you're experiencing? We've created a complete guide to help you understand the lab tests that are available to evaluate if you have IBD, Crohn's Disease or Ulcerative Colitis.
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is an umbrella term used to describe disorders that involve chronic inflammation of your digestive tract. Types of IBD include:
- Ulcerative colitis: This condition causes long-lasting inflammation and sores (ulcers) in the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum.
- Crohn's disease: This type of IBD is characterized by inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which often spreads deep into affected tissues.
Inflammatory bowel disease symptoms vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs. Symptoms may range from mild to severe. You are likely to have periods of active illness followed by periods of remission.
Signs and symptoms that are common to both Crohn's disease and Ulcerative Colitis include:
- Abdominal cramping and pain
- Blood in your stool
- Reduced appetite
- Unintended weight loss
Key Lab Tests for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Are you interested in learning about the forty key lab tests that are used to monitor inflammatory bowel disease? Here's what you need to know:
1. Blood Culture
A blood culture checks for yeast, bacteria, and other types of microorganisms in your blood. If there's a positive result in your blood culture, it's a sign that you have a type of pathogen in your body that could be causing the symptoms that you're experiencing.
2. C-Reactive Protein (CRP)
C-Reactive protein, also referred to as CRP, is a blood test marker that measures the level of inflammation found in your body. If there's an increased level of CRP identified in your blood test, it means that's there's inflammation in your body, which is also commonly found in individuals with irritatable bowel disease.
A CBC test, which stands for complete blood count, is completed on individuals who are suffering from diarrhea. If diarrhea is one of the symptoms that you're experiencing, a CBC will be used to measure for an infection in your body. This blood test is also used to detect anemia, which could be a sign that you're experiencing bleeding in your digestive tract.
4. Comprehensive Metabolic Panel
A comprehensive metabolic panel will allow medical professionals to evaluate if you have a metabolic disorder if one of the symptoms you've experienced is unexplained weight loss. It'll also provide medical professionals with better insight if you have an electrolyte or dehydration abnormalities if you're experiencing diarrhea.
5. Direct Antiglobulin Test (DAT)
This blood test is used to let medical professionals if your red blood cells are being coated in vivo with immunoglobin, complement, or a mixture of both. A positive test rule for a direct antiglobulin test is a possible sign of autoimmune hemolytic anemia, a hemolytic transfusion reaction, or immune hemolysis induced by drug use.
Erythropoietin blood tests measure the Erythropoietin hormone, which is produced in your kidneys. This hormone is responsible for the production of red blood cells, which ensure that oxygen is carried from your lungs throughout the rest of your body.
An erythrocyte sedimentation rate blood test takes a measurement of how quickly your red blood cells settle at the bottom of a test tube. By measuring how quickly your red blood cells fall to the bottom of the test tube that contains a sample of your blood, medical professionals are able to identify signs of inflammation in your body.
8. Fecal Occult Blood
A fecal occult blood test checks your stool samples for hidden blood. Any occult blood that's found in your stool samples can indicate polyps in your colon, rectum, or even colon cancer.
A ferritin blood test measures the level of iron that's found in your blood. If your ferritin stores are too low, it's a sign that you have an iron deficiency, which can be a result of a Crohn's disease-causing your body to poorly absorb nutrients.
A folate test measures the level of folic acid available in your blood. Folic acid is Vitamin B-9, which ensures the healthy production of red blood cells.
G6PD is an abbreviation for glucose-6-phosphate-dehydrogenase, which is an enzyme that supports the functioning of red blood cells. This blood test identifies if there's a genetic disorder present, where your body isn't producing enough of this enzyme.
12. Gram Stain
A gram stain test that's used to detect the presence of bacteria in a sample, which can identify an infection.
13. H. Pylori
H. Pylori is a type of bacteria that can live in your digestive tract, resulting in ulcers and the thinning of the lining of your smaller intestine and your stomach.
A haptoglobin blood test measures the amount of haptoglobin located in your bloodstream. This enzyme is responsible for binding with hemoglobin.
Hematocrit blood test measures the ratio of the volume of your total blood to the volume of red blood cells.
Hemoglobin is a type of protein in your blood that's responsible for carrying oxygen to your organs and tissues, while also aiding in moving carbon dioxide back into your lungs for you to exhale. The hemoglobin test measures the level of hemoglobin found in your blood.
17. Hemoglobinopathy Evaluation
A hemoglobinopathy evaluation identifies if an individual has an abnormal form of hemoglobin. In addition, this test also measures to see if there's a decreased level of hemoglobin found in the blood.
18. Intrinsic Factor Antibody
Intrinsic factor antibodies are a type of protein that your immune system produces when fighting against pernicious anemia. If there's a positive detection for this antibody in your blood, it can be an indicator that you have pernicious anemia.
19. Iron, Total and Total Iron Binding Capacity
A total iron test measures the level of iron in your blood. A total iron-binding capacity identifies how well iron is moving throughout your body.
20. Methylmalonic Acid
Methylmalonic acid is created when your body digests protein. If there's an elevated level of methylmalonic acid found in your blood, it's a sign that you have a Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
21. Parietal Cell Antibody
Parietal cells are created when your body needs to absorb Vitamin B12. A parietal cell antibody blood testidentifies antibodies that are fighting against the parietal cells in your stomach.
22. Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT, aPTT)
Partial thromboplastin time is also referred to as activated partial thromboplastin time, which is a screening test that identifies how well your body is able to form a blood clot.
23. Prothrombin Time and International Normalized Ratio (PT/INR)
A prothrombin time test is used to identify a bleeding disorder or if you have an excessive clotting disorder. An international normalized ratio is calculated based on the results of your prothrombin time results.
24. Reticulocyte Count
A reticulocyte count is a type of blood test that measures how quickly your bone marrows produce red blood cells and release these cells into your blood. If there's an elevated level of reticulocyte (immature red blood cells), it's a tool that's used to diagnose hemolytic anemia.
25. Sickle Cell Screen
A sickle cell blood test identifies any misformed red blood cells, which is a tool that's used to diagnose sickle cell anemia.
26. Soluble Transferrin Receptor
Soluble transferrin receptors are a type of protein that is found in the blood when a person is experiencing an elevated level of iron deficiency. By measuring the total amount of soluble transferrin receptors, this blood test is used as a tool to diagnose anemia.
Transferrin is a protein that's responsible for binding iron in the blood for transportation. By testing the total level of transferrin the blood, medical professionals can identify how well your body is able to bind iron.
28. Urine Culture
A urine culture is tested to identify the presence of bacteria in the urine, which could be a result of an infection in the urethra. If you're experiencing abdominal pain, a urine culture may be ordered by your medical professional to rule out a UTI.
29. Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
The Vitamin B12 blood test is an important test used in detecting Crohn's disease. In individuals that have undiagnosed Crohn's, their small intestine doesn't properly absorb nutrients, which is why a Vitamin B12 blood test is essential in receiving a proper diagnosis.
30. White Blood Cell Count (WBC)
A white blood cell count blood test is used to identify the level of white blood cells in your bloodstream. If your WBC test results are elevated, it's a sign that your body is fighting off inflammation or an infection somewhere in your body. This WBC test is included in the CBC test.
Lactoferrin tests require a stool sample to detect the levels of inflammation in the intestines. The lactoferrin protein is released by a neutrophil, which is a type of white blood cell. When there's inflammation in your digestive tract, neutrophil will release lactoferrin.
An elevated level of this protein in your stool is an indicator that your intestines are inflamed.
Another type of protein that's released by neutrophil (a type of white blood cell), a calprotectin test requires a stool sample to identify if elevated levels of this protein are found in your stool. This test is used as a way to identify if there's inflammation in your intestines.
33. Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibodies
Used to exclude or diagnose microscopy polyangiitis, antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies that are created to fight against antibodies that are located in the cytoplasmic granules of monocytes and neutrophils.
34. ANCA Screen with Reflex to ANCA Titer
An ANCA screen with reflex to ANCA titer test is used to identify anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies. The discovery of these antibodies has been found in individuals with autoimmune hepatitis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn's disease.
35. ANCA Screen with MPO and PR3, with Reflex to ANCA Titer
ANCA screen with MP0 and PR3, with reflex to ANCA titer, is another test that's used to identify anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies. These antibodies have been identified in individuals that have been diagnosed with inflammatory bowel diseases.
36. ANCA Vasculitides
By testing for ANCA vasculitides (an abbreviation for anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies), medical professionals are able to use this blood test to develop a diagnosis for bowel diseases.
37. IgG, IgA, Indirect Immunofluorescence
The IgG, IgA, indirect immunofluorescence test provides medical professionals with a tool to identify the titer and presence of the circulating anti-epithelial cell and antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies.
38. Proteinase-3 Antibody
The proteinase-3 antibody blood test is a serologic marker for active granulomatosis. A positive test result for these antibodies aids in the diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease.
39. Myeloperoxidase Antibody (MPO)
A myeloperoxidase antibody blood test identifies this antibody in individuals who are suspected of having inflammatory bowel disease. A positive blood test for this antibody is an indication of the possibility of one of several diseases, such as IBD.
40. Inflammatory Bowel Disease Differentiation Panel
The inflammatory bowel disease differentiation panel is a useful tool for medical professionals that provide them with the ability to distinguish a diagnosis between Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis if you've reported symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.
Get the Diagnosis You Deserve
Now you know the key lab tests that are used to monitor and diagnose inflammatory bowel diseases. You can select your lab tests, order directly online, choose a convenient patient service center near you, and review your test results typically in 1 to 2 days after your blood is collected.
Are you interested in learning more about the tests you need to monitor your inflammatory bowel disease? Take charge of your health and get tested today.