How To Prepare
You do not need to do anything before
you have this test.
How It Is Done
The health professional drawing blood
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to
stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is
easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick
may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is
- Put a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as
the needle is removed.
- Put pressure on the site and then put on a
How It Feels
The blood sample is taken from a vein in
your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight.
You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or
There is very little chance of a problem from
having a blood sample taken from a vein.
- You may get a small bruise at the site. You can
lower the chance of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several
- In rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood
sample is taken. This problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used
several times a day to treat this.
- Ongoing bleeding can be a
problem for people with bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (such as Coumadin), and
other blood-thinning medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have
bleeding or clotting problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell
your doctor before your blood sample is taken.
An immunoglobulins test is done to
measure the level of immunoglobulins, also known as
antibodies, in your blood.
The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, your doctor will evaluate your results based on your health and other factors. This means that a value that falls outside the normal values listed here may still be normal for you or your lab.
results listed below are normal values for adults. Children have different
values than adults. Results are ready in several days.
- IgA. High levels of IgA may mean
that monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS)
multiple myeloma is present. Levels of IgA also get
higher in some
autoimmune diseases, such as
rheumatoid arthritis and
systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and in liver
diseases, such as
cirrhosis and long-term (chronic)
- IgG. High levels of IgG may mean a long-term
(chronic) infection, such as
HIV, is present. Levels of IgG also get higher in IgG
multiple myeloma, long-term hepatitis, and
multiple sclerosis (MS). In multiple myeloma, tumor
cells make only one type of IgG antibody (monoclonal); the other conditions
cause an increase in many types of IgG antibodies (polyclonal).
- IgM. High levels of IgM can mean
macroglobulinemia, early viral hepatitis,
mononucleosis, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney damage
(nephrotic syndrome), or a
parasite infection is present. Because IgM antibodies
are the type that form when an infection occurs for the first time, high levels
of IgM can mean a new infection is present. High levels of IgM in a newborn
mean that the baby has an infection that started in the
uterus before delivery.
- IgD. How IgD works in the immune system is not
clear. A high level may mean IgD multiple myeloma is present. IgD multiple myeloma is much
less common than IgA or IgG multiple myeloma.
- IgE. A high level of IgE can mean a parasite
infection is present. Also, high levels of IgE often are found in people who have
atopic dermatitis, some types of cancer, and certain
autoimmune diseases. In rare cases, a high level of IgE may mean IgE multiple
- IgA. Some people are born with low or absent
levels of IgA antibodies. Low levels of IgA occur in some types of
leukemia, kidney damage (nephrotic syndrome), a
problem with the intestines (enteropathy), and a rare inherited disease that
affects muscle coordination (ataxia-telangiectasia). A low level of IgA increases the
chance of developing an autoimmune disease.
- IgG. Low levels of IgG occur in
macroglobulinemia. In this disease, the high levels of IgM antibodies stop the
growth of cells that make IgG. Other conditions that can cause low levels of
IgG include some types of leukemia and a type of kidney damage (nephrotic
syndrome). In rare cases some people are born with a lack of IgG antibodies.
These people are more likely to develop infections.
- IgM. Low levels of IgM occur in multiple myeloma,
some types of leukemia, and in some inherited types of immune diseases.
- IgE. Low levels of IgE can occur in a rare
inherited disease that affects muscle coordination (ataxia-telangiectasia).