Why take the Immune System Deficiency Test?
If your immune system function is impaired, this not only makes you more susceptible to infections, but this can also increase the risk of various diseases. With the lymphocyte and neutrophil counts determined in this test, you can recognise the signs of infections and better assess the state of your immune system.
A low immune cell count may also indicate a secondary immune deficiency, which in turn may be a sign of autoimmune diseases, metabolic disorders or chronic infections.
Who should take the Immune System Deficiency Test?
The cerascreen® Immune System Deficiency Test can provide fascinating information for anyone who wants to know more about their own health and how their immune system works.
It is particularly interesting for people who think they have immune system problems or whose immune system is frequently challenged by pathogens.
If you suspect that you have an immune deficiency, our test can be used to discuss results in more detail with a doctor.
How does the blood test work?
For the Immune System Deficiency Test, take a small sample of blood from your fingertip with a lancet. Only a few drops of blood are needed for this. Collect the drops on a dried blood spot card – this way, you only have to take a very small amount of blood, and the sample can be stored for a long time.
Your sample is sent free of charge to a specialised medical laboratory in the return envelope provided. The laboratory analyses the proportion of lymphocytes and granulocytes in the total number of white blood cells.
After the analysis is complete, you will receive a notification, after which you will be able to access the results report via your account on our website or the My cerascreen® app.
When should I take the Immune System Deficiency Test?
The results are strongly influenced by whether you are healthy at the time of taking the sample or whether you are suffering from an infection, such as the flu or a cold. You may therefore find that if you take the test when you are suffering from such an infection, the results may not be very helpful.
If your values were normal when you were healthy, it may be worth keeping another test for when you have symptoms of an illness. Then you may be able to compare values from both tests.
What do the results tell me?
The Immune System Deficiency Test results report tells you how many immune cells our laboratory has detected in your blood.
The results are presented as percentages, which indicate the proportion of either lymphocytes or granulocytes in the total number of white blood cells.
For comparison, you will be given normal ranges that have been collected from healthy people aged 18 to 71 years. For example, a normal range for T cells (CD3+) is between 11.30 and 33.17 per cent.
Which advice will I receive to boost my immune system?
If, after taking the Immune System Deficiency Test, the results indicate that your lymphocyte or granulocyte values are clearly outside the recommended ranges, we recommend that you contact your doctor.
If your values are just outside the reference ranges, this may indicate an existing infection – for example, a cold or the flu. In this case, you may want to take another test to check your values again after the infection has cleared.
In your results report, you will also receive a range of tips and recommendations that you can use to strengthen your immune system on a daily basis.
What are lymphocytes?
Lymphocytes are a subspecies of white blood cells (leukocytes). They are among the most important building blocks of the human immune system.
Lymphocytes include, among others, different types of T cells, B cells and natural killer cells.
These immune cells have different tasks in immune defence. For example, they produce antibodies, slow down the growth of tumour cells and can recognise and fight pathogens.
Regulatory T cells play a special role. In particular, they help to fight autoimmune diseases by preventing other immune cells from attacking their own cells.
Which lymphocytes are tested for?
The laboratory analyses a total of six different types of lymphocytes, which include B cells, T cells and natural killer cells. They all have different tasks in immune defence:
- T cells (CD3+) fight pathogens and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
- T-cells (CD4+), the helper T-cells, recognise antigens (proteins of pathogens) and ensure the release of messenger substances that call other defence cells into action.
- T-cells (CD8+), the cytotoxic T-cells, destroy infected or degenerated cells in the body after antigens have been recognised in them.
- B cells (CD19+) are involved in the formation of antibodies.
- NK cells (CD16+ CD56dim), the natural killer cells, eliminate pathogens and cancer cells and initiate cell death of harmful cells in the body.
- Regulatory T cells are responsible for stopping the immune system when it threatens to attack the body. In this way, they help to protect against autoimmune diseases.
What are neutrophil granulocytes?
In addition to the various lymphocytes, our immunodeficiency test also measures the number of neutrophil granulocytes in your blood sample.
Granulocytes, like lymphocytes, are a subspecies of white blood cells. Neutrophilic granulocytes are also known as ‘small scavenger cells’. One of their tasks is to fight fungi and bacteria that invade the body.
A low number of neutrophil granulocytes may indicate certain infections – for example via bacteria, viruses or malaria. The number of neutrophils may also increase in cases of autoimmune diseases, bone marrow disorders or when taking certain medications.
If the concentration of neutrophils in your body is too high, infections via bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites may also be the cause. Other possible causes are poisoning, gout, hormones and cancer.
How can I boost my immune system?
A fully functioning immune system helps your body to fight infections, prevent autoimmune diseases and stay healthy in the long term. It is therefore always a good idea to keep your immune system fighting fit in your everyday life.
Your lifestyle plays an important role in this. The following recommendations will help you to keep your immune system healthy:
Eat a varied diet: Make sure you don’t develop nutrient deficiencies. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and check your vitamin D intake regularly.
Exercise regularly: Exercise several times a week and make walking and cycling part of your daily routine.
Get enough sleep: Lymphocytes are produced during sleep – a lack of sleep leads to increased susceptibility to infection.
Reduce stress: Try to slow down the pace of your daily life when it becomes too hectic. Relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation can also help.
Avoid or reduce alcohol and nicotine: Both of these substances interfere with the formation of immune cells.
You will receive more detailed advice on the above topics in your cerascreen® Immune System Deficiency Test results report.
Who should NOT take the Immune System Deficiency Test?
The Immune System Deficiency Test is not or only partially suitable for certain groups of people:
People with infectious diseases, like hepatitis and HIV, may not use the Immune System Deficiency Test.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should only take the Immune System Deficiency Test under medical supervision. The given reference ranges and recommendations do not apply to people in this group; consult your medical professional for advice concerning your test results.
The Immune System Deficiency Test is not intended for children under 18 years of age.
The test is not intended for diagnosing illnesses or diseases. For example, if you suffer from moderate pain, consult a doctor.