Hepatitis is a serious affliction of the liver. It is caused by a virus and is generally contagious. Hepatitis has many types. The symptoms, recovery time, and spread of the disease vary according to the type. Type A and B Hepatitis are preventable through vaccination Hepatitis may be diagnosed through a blood test, imaging tests (like CT scan, MRI scan), and liver biopsy. The ASMA test is a standard test for hepatitis.
What is the ASMA test?
ASMA is an abbreviation for Anti-smooth Muscle Antibody. This test detects the condition where antibodies attack the smooth muscles of cells in the body. It is especially common in the liver. This test finds out the presence of autoantibodies.
Antibodies are part of our immune system. They attack pathogens. Pathogens are microorganisms that are harmful to us as they attack our immune systems and cause diseases. Examples of pathogens are bacteria, viruses, etc. Autoantibodies are antibodies that attack the body’s healthy cells by mistaking them for pathogens. Autoantibodies are the reason for autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune Hepatitis may develop because of some other diseases.
ASMA test procedure
The ASMA test is a blood test. The procedure entails the following.
● When you go to the lab, a lab technician will check your details or give you a form to fill out.
● The technician will tell you to form a fist keeping your thumb inside.
● The technician will tighten an armband just above your elbow to ensure adequate blood supply and to locate the vein.
● The technician will apply an antiseptic on your inner elbow.
● The technician will insert a needle attached to a syringe to collect your blood.
● After collecting the blood sample, the technician will take out the needle.
● Antiseptic will be applied at the needle insertion site.
The sample will be sent for analysis and you should get it interpreted by your doctor thereafter.
Precautions for ASMA test
- The ASMA test requires some precautions to get accurate results
- Fasting – A fasting period of 10-12 hours is required before the test. It means you should keep a gap of 10-12 hours between your last meal and the test.
- Alcohol and Smoking- Alcohol and smoking are not allowed for 10-12 hours before the test. It may impact the test results.
- Water- Water is allowed during the fasting frame for the ASMA test. Sufficient water will ensure a smooth test procedure and will not affect the result. Dehydration may lead to problems in the test process. Adequate water will also ensure that bodily activities run smoothly.
- Medications – Your doctor will tell you if you need to stop taking your regular medicines before the test.
ASMA test results
Results of the ASMA blood test are available in 2 to 6 days. Normal results mean there is no presence of Autoantibodies in the blood. If there is any presence in the normal range, it is in a trace amount. The normal range is also known as Negative Titer. The values are less than a dilution of 1:20.
Abnormal results mean a significant presence of Autoantibodies in the blood and possibly autoimmune Hepatitis. Abnormal results also have categories of moderate and high. Moderate values are dilation of 1:40 and range till 1:80. Any values above the dilution of 1:80 will indicate elevated autoantibodies.
Untreated Autoimmune Hepatitis can lead to the destruction of the liver, liver cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.
ASMA is a simple test, but its results can decide the health of your liver. To test ASMA choose a reputed lab for accurate results. Consult your doctor if required. Proper handling of samples will give accurate results. Once the results are out, your doctor will advise you regarding the course of treatment. It is important to adhere to your doctor’s advice in case there is something amiss with your ASMA results.