Autoantibody testing

Hi all.

I've been struggling with fatigue and finally I asked my Dr whether it was worth investigating whether there are other reasons besides liver disease why I'm so tired all the time. He said that yes, on the one hand, liver disease plus my other illnesses are enough to account for it, but on the other hand it wouldn't be a bad idea to look into other possible reasons.

So as one avenue I'm following, I'm seeing an acupuncturist who specializes in autoimmune diseases. One of the questions he asked was, have you been tested for autoantibodies?

I'd never even heard of them, so I'm reading up about them, and on the Wikipedia article on Autoantibodies, it says:

Systemic autoantibody tests are used to:

  • Help diagnose systemic autoimmune disorders.
  • Help determine the degree of organ or system involvement and damage (Along with other tests such as a complete blood count or comprehensive Metabolic Panel)
  • Monitor the course of the disorder and the effectiveness of treatments. There is no prevention or cure for autoimmune disorders at this time. Treatment is used to alleviate symptoms and to help maintain body function.
  • Monitor remissions, flares, and relapses

These make it sound very useful to have tested regularly. Maybe I'm ignorant and they are already testing me, I don't know. The last blood tests I had were for: PROTEIN, TOTAL; ALBUMIN, S; GLOBULIN; A/G RATIO; BILIRUBIN (two tests); AST; AKT; ALK PTASE; GAMMA GLUTAMYL TRANSPEPTIDASE; BILE ACIDS,TOTAL, and that's a pretty typical list for me.

By the way, these are all in the normal range for me, and they have been for some time, since they got my big flareup under control a few years ago. I'm glad they're normal, but it makes me that much more frustrated about being so tired.

I think these are all liver function tests, and not autoantibody tests. Does anyone know? Are you being tested regularly for autoantibodies?


Thanks Stephen for your reply. I am on multiple meds. Of these, asacol, azathioprine, keppra are listed as having a side effect of fatigue. But I don't think I can go off of any of these. As for depression, I have experienced it off and on, but the fatigue is more constant. I'll ask about thyroid function tests.

Yes, some days I can nap for hours, and end up no better off than I was, other days I'm so tired I feel I have to nap, and just lie there wide awake.

About the vitamins you list, my Dr is following me for D and E, and has me on supplements for both of those because I was deficient. But no one has tested me for K and A. I'll ask. Thanks for that thought.

I think your acupuncturist was referring to tests like ANA, anti-Ro, and anti-La, which are used to diagnosis autoimmune disease such as lupus. However, PSC is reason enough for fatigue, and you would be experiencing a number of other symptoms with lupus. Ask your primary care doctor if further testing is indicated.