top of page

Standard blood test is key to early diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune diseases

Standard blood test is key to early diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune diseases
A standard blood test that gauges a patient's inflammation levels might enhance the early detection and treatment of various autoimmune conditions. (CREDIT: Creative Commons)


A standard blood test that gauges a patient's inflammation levels might enhance the early detection and treatment of various autoimmune conditions, according to experts.


The Systemic Inflammation Index (SII) relies on routine lab data to gauge inflammation within the body, offering potentially crucial insights, says Professor Arduino Mangoni, a leading figure in Clinical Pharmacology at Flinders University’s College of Medicine and Public Health.


 
 

Addressing autoimmune disease


"Assessing this index in a novel manner could prove pivotal for early diagnosis, devising patient management strategies, and implementing health initiatives aimed at addressing autoimmune diseases," notes Professor Mangoni.


Funnel plot of studies investigating the association between the systemic inflammation index (SII) and immunological diseases (IDs) after “trimming-and-filling”.
Funnel plot of studies investigating the association between the systemic inflammation index (SII) and immunological diseases (IDs) after “trimming-and-filling”. The circles enclosed by square and conventional circles represent dummy and genuine studies, respectively. (CREDIT: Clinical and Experimental Medicine)


Autoimmune diseases encompass over 80 distinct conditions, ranging from inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, to rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. These conditions arise when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body.


 
 

These diseases impact around 5 percent of individuals in Australia and New Zealand, often causing distressing and incapacitating symptoms. Left undetected, they can lead to severe damage to organs and tissues.


In a recent study conducted by Professor Mangoni and Italian counterpart Professor Angelo Zinellu from the University of Sassari, researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of numerous research articles, exploring the potential utility of the index in diagnosing autoimmune diseases and assessing their severity.


 

Related Stories:

 

"Early identification of these diseases is paramount for effective management, and this is where the SII could make a significant difference," emphasizes Professor Mangoni.

"Presently available inflammation biomarkers, as measured in blood, exhibit limited diagnostic accuracy across various immunological diseases, resulting in detrimental delays in diagnosis and treatment," he adds.


This challenge has spurred efforts to identify new, more precise biomarkers of immunological diseases to bolster diagnosis and overall management.


 
 

"Among these potential biomarkers are those derived from standard blood tests that quantify specific cell types such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes, which have gained increased attention in immunological diseases," explains Professor Mangoni.


Summary receiving characteristics (SROC) curve with 95% confidence region and prediction region of the systemic inflammation index (SII) for the presence of immunological diseases (IDs)
Summary receiving characteristics (SROC) curve with 95% confidence region and prediction region of the systemic inflammation index (SII) for the presence of immunological diseases (IDs). (CREDIT: Clinical and Experimental Medicine)


"The SII, one of these hematological indices, has demonstrated notable accuracy in diagnosing other conditions marked by excessive inflammation and dysregulated immunity, such as COVID-19," he continues. "Our comprehensive review of existing evidence strongly suggests that the SII holds promise as a superior alternative to current biomarkers, with the potential for routine clinical use in diagnosing and managing patients with immunological diseases," he concludes.


 
 

Types of Autoimmune Diseases


According to WebMD, some examples of autoimmune diseases are:


  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Your immune system produces antibodies that attach to the linings of your joints. Your immune system cells then attack the joints, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain. If left untreated, RA gradually causes permanent joint damage. Treatments include various medications that reduce immune system overactivity. You might take them by mouth or as a shot. See charts that list rheumatoid arthritis drugs and their side effects.


  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus). When you have lupus, you develop autoimmune antibodies that can attach to tissues throughout your body. This disease most often attacks your joints, lungs, blood cells, nerves, and kidneys. Treatment often includes daily oral prednisone, a steroid that reduces immune system function. Read an overview of lupus symptoms and treatments.


  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Your immune system attacks the lining of your intestines, causing bouts of diarrhea, rectal bleeding, urgent bowel movements, abdominal pain, fever, and weight loss. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are the two main forms of IBD. Immune-suppressing medicines, taken by mouth or as a shot, can treat IBD. Learn about the differences between ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.


 
 

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS). Your immune system attacks nerve cells, causing symptoms that may include pain, blindness, weakness, poor coordination, and muscle spasms. Your doctor can use medicines that suppress your immune system to treat it. Read more on multiple sclerosis drugs and their side effects.


  • Type 1 diabetes. Your antibodies attack and destroy insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin shots to survive. Learn about the symptoms to look for in type 1 diabetes.


  • Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS). Your immune system attacks the nerves controlling the muscles in your legs and sometimes those in your arms and upper body. This leads to weakness, which can sometimes be serious. Filtering the blood with a procedure called plasmapheresis is the main treatment.


 
 

  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP). Similar to Guillain-Barre, this disease also involves the immune system attacking the nerves. But the symptoms last much longer. If it's not treated early, about 30% of people with this condition will eventually need to use a wheelchair. Treatment for CIDP and GBS are essentially the same. Find out what the treatment options are for CIDP.


  • Psoriasis. When you have psoriasis, immune system blood cells called T-cells collect in your skin. Your immune system stimulates skin cells to reproduce quickly, producing silvery, scaly plaques on your skin. See a photo of what psoriasis looks like.


  • Graves' disease. In this disease, your immune system produces antibodies that cause your thyroid gland to release too much thyroid hormone into your blood (hyperthyroidism). Symptoms can include bulging eyes , weight loss, nervousness, irritability, rapid heart rate, weakness, and brittle hair. Your doctor usually needs to destroy or remove your thyroid gland using medicines or surgery. Learn more about treatments for Graves' disease.


 
 

  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Antibodies from your immune system attack your thyroid gland, slowly destroying the cells that produce thyroid hormone. You develop low levels of thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), usually over months to years. Symptoms include fatigue, constipation, weight gain, depression, dry skin, and sensitivity to cold. Taking a synthetic thyroid hormone pill every day restores normal body functions. Find out more on treatments for an underactive thyroid.


  • Myasthenia gravis. Antibodies bind to your nerves and make them unable to stimulate your muscles properly. The main symptom is weakness that gets worse with activity. A drug called pyridostigmine (Mestinon) is most often used to treat myasthenia gravis. Read an overview of the symptoms of myasthenia gravis.


  • Scleroderma. Also known as systemic sclerosis, this chronic connective disease causes inflammation in your skin and other places in your body. As a result, your body makes too much collagen. This leads to visible hardening of the skin and damage to your blood vessels and organs, such as your heart, lungs, and kidneys. There's no cure. Treatment aims to relieve symptoms and stop the disease from getting worse.


 
 

  • Vasculitis. In this group of autoimmune diseases, your immune system attacks and damages blood vessels. Vasculitis can affect any organ, so symptoms vary widely and can happen almost anywhere in your body. Treatment involves reducing immune system activity, usually with prednisone or another corticosteroid. Learn more about vasculitis symptoms and treatments.








For more science news stories check out our New Discoveries section at The Brighter Side of News.


 

Note: Materials provided above by The Brighter Side of News. Content may be edited for style and length.


 
 

Like these kind of feel good stories? Get the Brighter Side of News' newsletter.


 

Comments


Most Recent Stories

bottom of page