Adrenal 21-Hydroxylase Autoantibodies Blood Test (Endocrine Sciences)
The adrenal 21-hydroxylase antibody test, also referred to as the adrenal antibodies test, is used to investigate the insufficiency of the adrenal gland and to assess the risk that a person may develop an autoimmune adrenal gland insufficiency.
Cortisol, aldosterone, and other steroid hormones are secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol and aldosterone are vital hormones, and an adrenal gland malfunction, known as Addison's disease, should be quickly detected and treated.
Our immune system is responsible for our body's defense against cell and foreign organism threats. Often, some of its own tissues are deregulated and mistaken for foreign tissues. Antibodies produced against the body's own tissues are the cause of a large number of autoimmune diseases including juvenile diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and several thyroid disorders. Auto-antibodies are also the most common cause of Addison's disease, either alone or often in combination with other autoimmune conditions (hypothyroidism, pernicious anemia, type 1 diabetes, etc.). The presence of 21-Hydroxylase antibodies is consistent with developing or established Addison's disease.
Over time, adrenal insufficiency or Addison's disease may lead to these symptoms:
- Inability to digest food, loss of appetite, and weight loss
- Chronic fatigue and muscle weakness
- Blotchy, dark tanning and freckling of the skin; this is most noticeable on parts of the body exposed to the sun, but also occurs in unexposed areas like the gums. Darkened skin is particularly likely to occur on the forehead, knees, and elbows or along scars, skin folds, and creases (such as on the palms).
- Low blood pressure (hypotension) that falls further when standing; this causes dizziness, sometimes to the point of fainting.
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Blood sugar abnormalities, including dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- Moodiness, irritability, and depression
- Inability to cope with stress
- Craving for salty foods
- Intolerance to heat or cold
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