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What does elevated IgE mean?

Posted May 09 2011 9:55am

From the Question of the Day from the AAAAI:

My doctor said I have an elevated “IgE” level. What does that mean?
Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is an antibody found only in mammals. IgE antibodies are produced by the immune system as a result of sensitization to allergens, including foods, environmental allergens such as pollens, molds, pet dander, and dust mites, medications and stinging insects. IgE antibodies can also be produced by the immune system in response to a parasitic infection in the body by a worm such as Schistosoma mansoni, Trichinella spiralis, and Fasciola hepatica.
The concentration of total IgE is age-related. The level of IgE in our bloodstream increases during childhood until about 10 years of age. At age 10, the total IgE reaches a value that is typically maintained throughout adult life.
Elevated total IgE levels are usually seen in patients with one or more atopic or allergic conditions such as asthma, hay fever, food allergies or allergic eczema (atopic dermatitis). Measurement of total IgE through a blood test can aid in the clinical diagnosis of an allergic disorder. Infection with a parasitic worm can also increase the level of total IgE in the bloodstream.

Additional information on IgE .
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