An anti-smooth muscle antibody (ASMA) test helps diagnose antibodies that target smooth muscle. If these antibodies are detected in the beginning, autoimmune hepatitis can be treated by taking immunosuppressive drugs. If you do not receive treatment, you may have a risk of liver failure. In this article, you will see when you need an ASMA test and their normal ranges.
What is an Anti-Smooth Muscle Antibody?
An anti-smooth muscle antibody (ASMA) test is a blood test that helps diagnose autoantibodies, which target the smooth muscle cells in the body. The antibodies are often present in the liver. Your body develops antibodies, which damage your own body cells.
In the beginning, ASMAs were found in those having chronic active hepatitis. In general, your immune system will target external bodies, such as parasites with the antibodies developed for shielding your body.
Your immune system identifies substances known as antigens that may be dangerous for your body. Bacteria and viruses are closed with antigens. If your immune system finds antigens, it develops a protein known as an antibody to destroy it. Autoantibodies such as the anti-smooth muscle antibodies believe that the body cells and tissues are external bodies and signal your immune system to destroy them.
ASMAs, also called smooth muscle antibodies – damage smooth muscle tissues in particular body parts. The ASMA test helps find these antibodies in the blood.
Where can ASMAs be found?
You may have smooth muscle antibodies with medical conditions, including
- Rheumatic disorders
- Infectious diseases
The frequent aim of ASMAs is to target the smooth muscle tissues in the liver, resulting in certain diseases such as primary biliary cirrhosis and autoimmune hepatitis.
Why do I need an Anti-Smooth Muscle Antibody test?
A healthcare provider will recommend an ASMA test if you are experiencing chronic liver disease. The blood test that helps evaluate if you have autoimmune hepatitis (AIH). This form of liver disease develops when your immune system damages your liver cells. Autoimmune hepatitis is generally a long-term condition that can lead to cirrhosis or liver scarring, resulting in liver failure.
Here are the signs and symptoms of AIH include:
- Urine color turns dark
- Expansion of the liver size (hepatomegaly)
- Body swelling
- Liver tenderness
- Stools colored turn pale
Other symptoms of AIH include:
- Reduction in appetite
- Nausea & vomiting
- Joint pain
- Skin and eyes color turn to yellow (jaundice)
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
- The appearance of rashes on the skin
If you have these symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis, you should consult a healthcare provider to receive recommendations for treatment.
How is an ASMA Test Conducted?
An anti-smooth muscle antibody test is a blood test that requires your blood sample. After placing an order for the test online, you can visit the laboratory.
Generally, you can provide a blood sample in the following steps:
- You need to remove part of your cloth from one of your arms.
- A healthcare provider puts an elastic band on one of your arms. It helps lower blood flow, helps your veins to become more visible, and makes it simpler to inject a needle.
- When a provider finds a vein in your arms, they insert a needle attached to a test tube to collect your blood sample.
- A small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube.
- After collecting the blood sample, the needle will be removed, and a bandage will be applied to the vein area from where the needle is inserted.
- Your provider will store the blood sample at the laboratory for examination.
What are the risks of the ASMA Test?
The ASMA test does not have high risks. You may experience bruising or pain during needle injection. Some people may experience bleeding after the removal of the needle. You can inform your provider if you are using blood thinners or have bleeding or clotting disorders.
In some cases, while taking a blood sample, you may have the risk of:
- Infection near the needle’s position
- Fainting or lightheadedness
- The high amount of bleeding
- Deposition of blood inside your skin (hematoma)
ASMA Test Result
The test results may slightly change among laboratories due to different methods. The recommended test results of the AMSA test indicate that no ASMAs are present in your blood. A nil or negative range is considered a dilution below 1: 20.
Usually, the positive AMSA results lie higher or equal to a dilution of 1: 40. You may have positive AMSA test results with autoimmune liver disease because of the:
- Few cancers
- Chronic hepatitis C infection
- Infectious mononucleosis
An F- actin antibody test with the ASMA test, may recover the tendency to diagnose autoimmune hepatitis with other medical conditions. It is necessary to speak with your doctor as the test results need analysis, specifically with other tests that have been ordered.
If you are diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, it shows that your immune system is unintentionally developing antibodies that target healthy cells in your liver.
Autoimmune hepatitis can occur in every individual, however, it is often more common in women compared to men suggested by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Autoimmune hepatitis can ultimately result in the liver:
It is crucial to ask any questions you carry about your test results with a healthcare provider online. You will also get treatment options to eliminate autoimmune hepatitis.
Treatment for Autoimmune Hepatitis
A healthcare provider will initiate the treatment if you experience more frequent autoimmune hepatitis symptoms that become worse. The primary treatment for this disease often is steroids that reduce the power of your immune system and develop side effects such as weight gain, low white blood cells, and soft or weak bones.
If you do not have significant symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis, your doctor may not go for treatment. Some people may need several years of treatment till the symptoms go away. However, if the symptoms come back, your treatment will be started again.
Your provider may have difficulty forecasting the long-term influences of ASMAs, specifically autoimmune hepatitis, as this disease may appear acute or chronic.
Anti-smooth muscle antibody (ASMA) test is a blood test that helps find autoantibodies that target the smooth muscle cells in the body. If antibodies are present in your blood, you may have the chance of developing autoimmune hepatitis.
It is necessary to talk with a healthcare provider online if you experience a positive ASMA test result. A healthcare provider will suggest treatment if you have liver disease with autoimmune diseases.