LYME DISEASE TEST (IGG, IGM)
Does this test have other names?
Borrelia burgdorferi antibodies test, IgM/IgG test, Borrelia Antibody
What is the Lyme disease test?
Lyme disease test is a blood test that measures the number of antibodies due to recent exposure to borrelia bacteria. A bacteria that spreads through the bite of specific ticks is called Borrelia, which leads to Lyme disease. This bacteria may affect your skin at the bite spot or elsewhere on the skin. It can also affect other organs of the body. The immune system develops antibodies, which are proteins. They help to fight against bacteria and viruses.
When do I need the Lyme disease test?
Your provider recommends the testing if you have experience symptoms of Lyme disease
and you may have exposure to any ticks that may possess the Borrelia bacteria. The test timing is a significant element because antibodies take a long time to develop. The different extents of bacterial infection can show symptoms of Lyme disease. The following are the three conditions that define infection in your body, such as
- Early stage – In the initial stage, symptoms of infection occur, generally at the spot of a tick bite. This early stage is known as erythema migrans. After the tick bite, you will notice a significant rash on your skin that occurs within a few weeks.
- Early spreading– In this stage, the bacteria affects the other organs and parts of the body. It occurs when bacteria flow into your blood. The general symptoms are fever, pain, and headaches. The heart or nervous system may also disturb due to bacteria in a few cases.
- Delayed disease – This stage develops for a long time as the initial tick bite takes place on your skin. It shows symptoms that may cause joint or nervous system diseases.
It is essential to understand these three conditions as the testing does not have equal value in each stage. If your provider observes the bacteria at an early stage and erythema migrans, the blood test is not beneficial because antibodies will take a long time to develop.
In general, symptoms of early spreading or delayed disease can be predicted by the Borrelia antibody test if you have experience Borrelia infection in the recent past. The individual blood test does not identify Lyme disease
. Your provider will consider its symptoms and risk of potential exposure to a tick.
Joint pain and many medical conditions can indicate symptoms of Lyme disease
. Your provider will not recommend any testing if you are experiencing symptoms that are non-particular and showing no signs of exposure to Borrelia. In these scenarios, the results can be misleading from the blood test because antibodies may also develop due to a past infection compared to your present condition, which indicates your current symptoms.
Your doctor may not recommend a random Lyme test without symptoms due to the occurrence of inaccurate positive results. A cerebrospinal fluid test often indicates neurological symptoms in people having Lyme disease
and positive blood tests.
What happens during the test?
Your provider asks for a blood sample from you. They inject a needle into a vein in your arm. A small number of blood deposits into a test tube. Your provider applies a bandage at the spot where the needle injects. After that, you can return home for daily activities. This test usually takes at least 5 minutes.
What are the factors that may affect the results?
The test helps to find exposure to Borrelia, but they are not accurate like any medical test. Some factors or considerations that may affect the accuracy of the results are:
- Test Timing – Time is a significant factor to consider. Different antibodies take a long time for their growth in the blood.
- Hybrid-reactivity –There is a probability antibodies to other bacteria may detect in the test instead of antibodies to Borrelia. It led to a false positive result when the test results may show exposure to Borrelia even when nothing happened. If you have a past experience with Lyme disease or received a vaccine for Lyme disease, you may get misleading positive results.
- Standard interpretation – The antibody test can be interpreted by following the guidelines of the CDC (Centre for disease control and prevention). Researchers show that laboratories develop more uniform and reliable observations by following these guidelines compared to laboratories that use non-standard criteria.
Your provider may consider these factors when they may need to interpret the test results. It is noticeable that testing can be reliable in determining exposure to bacteria, but this is different from identifying Lyme disease
What are the types of Lyme disease?
The test measures two types of antibodies. One is immunoglobulin M (IgM) and the second one is immunoglobulin G (IgG).
- IgM antibodies – These antibodies move to peak during a few weeks when the infection with Borrelia bacteria occurs. Its effects decrease between 4 to 6 months after infection.
- IgG antibodies – These antibodies develop a little slower and take 4-6 weeks after exposure in the initial stage. It goes to peak in 4-6 months after exposure. It tends to link with an active infection.
Both antibodies may carry in the blood for a long time.
What is the risk of the test?
A blood test has a small risk. You may experience a little pain at the spot where the needle injects. But this will go away in a short time.
What may affect the test results?
The vaccine for Lyme disease may affect your test results. People may receive false negative tests when they tested earlier after the infection. Some antibiotics may also change your test results.
What does the test result mean?
The test results depend on the person’s age, gender, medical history, and other factors. You can book an online appointment with a doctor at UmbrellaMD
to understand the test results. If no antibodies are present, you have negative test results. But it is difficult to diagnose Lyme disease. Because the antibodies do not appear for many weeks in your blood. False-negative results may occur just after the infection.
Positive results indicate the presence of Borrelia antibodies and also show that you may or may not experience Lyme disease. False-positive results may also appear sometimes that show the presence of infections even if you do not possess them. Antibodies may show up months or years later if you have experience Lyme disease and received treatment.
Visit Umbrella Health Care Systems
to place the order for the lab test, even if you don’t have a prescription. You can register here
to get more different laboratories test and their procedures.