The complement (c3, c4) test is prescribed when doctors suspect that a person might be suffering from an autoimmune disorder. The complement proteins are secreted by the complement system. This system is part of the immune system and is responsible for aiding the immune system to fight against pathogens like viruses or bacteria. A total of nine complement proteins are present. Out of these nine, C3 and C4 are the most commonly tested complement proteins.
The complement system or complement cascade is an essential part of the immune system. Complement proteins play a vital role in helping the immune system prepare antibodies that will counter the foreign antigen.
The complement (c3, c4) test is done to check if the person is suffering from any autoimmune disorders or inflammatory disorders. This test is also done to check if the complement system has any issues that restrict it from preventing infections. This test is collectively known as total complement activity (CH50, CH100). It is also used to detect lupus in a person.
Symptoms that prompt a doctor to prescribe the complement test are:
The complement (c3, c4) test, as the name mentions, measures the proteins C3 and C4. Both these complement proteins are associated with helping detect lupus. The complement proteins play a role in matching the specific antibodies for the antigens detected. C3 is the most abundant complement protein in the system. This protein plays a major role in helping the immunity pathways create proteins to counter the infection. In fact, the activation of this C3 protein initiates the pathways.
Abnormalities in the results can mean that the person is suffering from conditions that can be autoimmune or inflammatory in nature. This test is also used as a monitoring test to check the effectiveness of the treatment chosen.
The complement protein blood test is done by checking the blood samples collected from the person. There are no known life-threatening risks or side effects associated with this test. Sample collection is done by experienced phlebotomists and the collected samples are immediately sealed in a vacutainer.
The process of drawing blood involves the insertion of the needle into the subdermal layer to reach the vein. This can cause some discomfort to the person. At times, this insertion and extraction causes bruising. These go away soon. People having a lower blood count can feel dizzy and nauseous. For such instances, taking rest and adequate vitamin supplements are suggested.
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Glomerulonephritis is the condition where the glomeruli in the kidneys become inflamed. Glomeruli help in the formation of urine to eliminate waste products. The condition is often seen in people suffering from diabetes or lupus. Symptoms of glomerulonephritis include: muscle cramps, less need for urination, edema, and hypertension.
Ulcerative colitis is a condition that is caused due to the inflammation of the linings of the large intestine and the rectum. The symptoms develop over time.
Hereditary angioedema is a recurrent disorder. It is characterized by frequent and sudden swelling of body parts like the limbs, face, or air passageways.
The complement proteins are part of the immune system and traces are bound to be present even in healthy individuals. A normal range is provided. Both instances of abnormally high and abnormally low levels of the complement proteins are indicators of serious conditions. The levels of complement proteins are measured in milligrams per deciliter.
|C3||75 to 175 mg/dL|
|C4||14 to 40 mg/dL|
When the levels are higher than normal, it can indicate:
When the levels are lower than normal, it can indicate:
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