The human body has a receptor called the Acetylcholine receptor against which an antibody which is a protein that is found in the blood when a person is suffering from myasthenia gravis is created. It is the Acetylcholine receptor ab. This antibody shows its effect on a chemical which sends out signals through muscles to the nerves. Acetylcholine disorders are a few, most common being Myasthenia Gravis.
The Acetylcholine Receptor Antibody test is a blood test that is performed to check the concentration of acetylcholine receptor antibodies in the blood. This test is mainly performed to detect Myasthenia Gravis (MG) in patients and distinguish it from conditions with similar symptoms, such as weakness and muscle fatigue.
What is acetylcholine?
The nerve synapses contain a chemical called acetylcholine which causes skeletal muscles contraction. Acetylcholine meaning is that it is a chemical. The acetylcholine effect on heart is that it slows down the heart pumping. There are acetylcholine supplements available in the market.
An autoimmune disorder called Myasthenia Gravis is a neuromuscular disorder that can occur in people of any age group. In this autoimmune disorder, the person’s body developed the acetylcholine receptor antibodies. These acetylcholine antibodies start interfering with the normal acetylcholine function in our body. The importance of acetylcholine is that it is supposed to induce muscular contractions. It induces muscular contractions by being a messenger between a person’s muscle and nerves. Myasthenia Gravis is a very rare autoimmune condition which mostly occurs in women who are less than 40 years old and occurs in men who are more than 60 years old. The acetylcholine receptor antibody test is recommended by a doctor when there is an onset of Myasthenia Gravis symptoms. The symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis are a dual vision, drooping of eyelids, fatigue, lethargy, breath shortness, neck muscle weakness, speech issues, improper walking, difficulty in sitting and lifting things, hoarse voice and facial muscle weakness.
There may be other tests that the doctor suggests to confirm Myasthenia Gravis. These may be as follows:
• Repetitive nerve stimulation (RNS) is used to test muscle strength. People who have a weak response to nerve stimulation could have Myasthenia Gravis.
• The Muscle-specific receptor tyrosine kinase (MuSK) test. The presence of MuSK antibody implies the absence of AChR antibody.
• Edrophonium chloride is used to diagnose myasthenia gravis.
• Single fibre electromyography (SFEMG) is also used to detect Myasthenia Gravis
• Lung function tests
• CT scan or MRI scan may also be suggested
As per the results of this test, if there is a high concentration of AChR antibody in the blood, it indicates that there may be a presence of Myasthenia Gravis. Sometimes the normal test results also may indicate that Myasthenia Gravis may be present in the person. Therefore, it should be considered that this test cannot confirm or rule out the presence of Myasthenia Gravis.
The acetylcholinesterase mechanism breaks down the Ach. Hence anticholinesterase enzymes slow down the breakdown of Ach, hence helping to deal with Myasthenia Gravis. Also, Myasthenia Gravis can be treated by increasing acetylcholine levels in the body. How to increase acetylcholine? Increase in acetylcholine is by use of acetylcholine supplements. Acetylcholine side effects may be bradycardia, flushing, hypotension, sweating etc. Acetylcholine psychology is complex and can be better understood by the doctor. Acetylcholinesterase deficiency is usually an inherited deficiency.
This test is done by collecting a blood sample from the vein of the patient. A needle with a syringe is inserted into the vein at the arm, and the blood is drawn into the syringe by venipuncture. The blood sample is then sent to the laboratory for further test and analysis. Ideally, 3ml of blood is collected for the test.
The risks associated with this test are same as those of blood sample collection. During or after blood sample collection there may be more than normal bleeding, bruises at the puncture site, dizziness or even infections. There may be a feeling of pain when the needle is inserted into the vein. There may be inflammation at the site of the puncture.
The lab test results may be affected by things such as the method used by the lab to perform the test. Also, the timing of blood sample collection affects the test results. If anaesthesia is given or a muscle relaxant is applied 48 hours before the test is conducted, there can be a false positive result.
There is no special preparation that is required for the test. It is advisable generally that if the person is on medication, then this should be informed to the doctor beforehand. The persons’ medical history should also be shared with the doctor before the test is taken.
Specimen type: Serum (Blood Sample) How is the specimen collected: Venipuncture collection of blood from a vein in the arm.
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