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Specialty testing provides valuable diagnostic insights

No single diagnostic assay exists for any one autoimmune disease. As a result, diagnosis of autoimmune diseases often requires a careful analysis of the patient’s clinical exam, together with a medical history and laboratory test results.1,2

Here you’ll find a sampling of Quest’s available testing for a number of autoimmune conditions. Armed with the knowledge they provide, you’ll be able to make a more confident diagnosis and help patients feel better, sooner.

Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or lupus, is a disease that targets many bodily systems and organs. It can affect blood vessels, muscles, joints, the digestive tract, lungs, kidneys, heart, and central nervous system.3 Quest offers testing for lupus, including the Lupus Panel, which is a comprehensive lupus test.

Myositis

Myositis includes polymyositis, dermatomyositis, and, occasionally, clinical manifestations of both (known as “overlap syndrome”). The condition causes muscle weakness, usually in the proximal limbs, and is often accompanied by rash. Other symptoms include pain or fatigue after walking or standing, difficulty climbing steps or reaching overhead, and tripping, falling, and trouble with swallowing or breathing.4

To learn more about our myositis testing, see our Clinical Focus,
Myositis: Laboratory support for classification and diagnosis.

Systemic sclerosis

Systemic sclerosis (SSc), or scleroderma, is characterized by overgrowth of connective tissue that causes swelling or pain in muscles and joints. Other symptoms include calcium deposits in connective tissue, narrowing of blood vessels in the hands or feet, red spots on the hands and face, narrowing of the esophagus, and thick, tight skin on fingers. Raynaud’s syndrome, characterized by feelings of numbness and cold, often in the extremities, in response to cold temperatures or stress, is another possible manifestation.5

To learn more about our systemic sclerosis testing, see our Clinical Focus,
Systemic sclerosis: Laboratory support of diagnosis and management.

CREST syndrome

CREST (calcinosis, Raynaud’s phenomenon, esophageal dysfunction, sclerodactyly, and telangiectasia) is a slowly progressing, less serious form of systemic sclerosis.6

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a form of inflammatory arthritis. Symptoms and signs include pain, swelling, stiffness, debilitating joint erosion, and loss of joint function.7

Quest’s innovative RA testing includes the inflammatory mediator, 14-3-3 eta, used to detect RA, erosive psoriatic arthritis in patients who may have psoriasis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. It may also help differentiate from other inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, gout, lupus, Sjögren syndrome, and systemic sclerosis. This biomarker indicates more severe disease in both early and established disease. 

Learn more about our rheumatoid arthritis testing:

Sjögren syndrome

This disorder—in which the immune system attacks the moisture-producing lacrimal and salivary glands—often accompanies other immune system disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Treatment focuses on relieving its common symptoms, which are most typically severe dry eyes and dry mouth.8

For more about Sjögren syndrome, see our Sjögren syndrome Clinical Focus

Mixed connective tissue disease

Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) affects all ages, but it is most common in women under 30. A rare disorder with features of SLE, SSc, and polymyositis, its symptoms are similar to other connective tissue disorders and RA. Other symptoms include Raynaud’s phenomenon, arthritis, heart, lung, and skin abnormalities, kidney disease, weakness, and esophageal dysfunction.9

Rheumatic disease

Autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs) are diseases in which the immune system attacks the joints and certain systems. The cause of many of these diseases is unknown. ARDs are sometimes difficult to distinguish owing to overlapping signs and symptoms, which include joint pain, diminished joint mobility, rash, fever, malaise, fatigue, and weight loss.

Common ARDs include gout and pseudogout, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, mixed connective tissue disease, polymyositis and dermatomyositis, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, Sjögren syndrome, spondyloarthropathies, systemic lupus erythematosus and neuropsychiatric lupus, systemic sclerosis, and systemic vasculitis.

Celiac

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition triggered by the consumption of gluten. In celiac disease, gluten exposure results in some degree of intestinal damage and leads to nutritional deficiencies and their associated conditions and symptoms. The autoimmune process can affect multiple organs and bodily systems.

Inflammatory bowel disease

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. It is characterized by severe diarrhea, pain, fatigue, and weight loss. The risk of cancer also rises with the frequency of inflammation.

There are two potentially life threating IBDs: ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease.

  • Ulcerative colitis is a disease of the large intestine, also known as the colon, in which the lining becomes inflamed and develops tiny open ulcers that produce pus and mucus. The combination of inflammation and ulceration can cause abdominal discomfort and frequent emptying of the colon.10
  • Crohn disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. Though similar to ulcerative colitis, Crohn disease may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract, from the mouth to the anus. Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon.11

The Inflammatory Bowel Disease Differentiation Panel helps you diagnose both of these common and debilitating IBDs. 

References

  1. NIH National Library of Medicine Medline Plus. Autoimmune diseases. Updated March 31, 2021. Accessed September 21, 2015. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/autoimmunediseases.html#summary
  2. American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). Diagnosis tips. Accessed September 2, 2021. https://www.aarda.org/who-we-help/patients/diagnosis-tips/
  3. About lupus. Lupus Research Alliance. Accessed September 21, 2021. https://www.lupusresearch.org/understanding-lupus/what-is-lupus/about-lupus/?gclid=CjwKCAjwy7CKBhBMEiwA0Eb7atIYPh0DI-S0Sq2oMAhR91YGzSyLm63hD5EIS0HRiTpe0XXTMOnz8BoCW1EQAvD_BwE
  4. The Myositis Association. About Myositis. Accessed January 7, 2016. http://www.myositis.org/learn-about-myositis
  5. American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). Scleroderma. Accessed September 2, 2021. https://www.aarda.org/diseaseinfo/scleroderma/
  6. American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). CREST syndrome. Accessed September 2, 2021. https://www.aarda.org/diseaseinfo/crest-syndrome/
  7. Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid arthritis: causes, symptoms, treatments and more. Accessed September 3, 2021. https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/rheumatoid-arthritis
  8.  Sjögren’s Syndrome Foundation. Understanding Sjögren’s. Accessed September 3, 2021. https://www.sjogrens.org/home/about-sjogrens
  9. American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). Mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD). Accessed September 3, 2021. https://www.aarda.org/diseaseinfo/mixed-connective-tissue-disease-mctd/
  10. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. What is ulcerative colitis? Accessed September 3, 3021. https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/what-is-ulcerative-colitis
  11. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. What is Crohn’s disease? Accessed September 3, 2021. https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/what-is-crohns-disease

 

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