What Does It Mean if My IgE Level Is High? (2022)

Asthma can be described as allergic or non-allergic. Allergic (extrinsic) asthma is associated with immunoglobulin E (IgE)—an antibody generated by the immune system, in this case, in response to a normally harmless substance. In contrast, non-allergic (intrinsic) asthma episodes are not typically triggered by exposure to a substance and are not associated with IgE.

IgE plays a key role in allergic responses, however it can sometimes be elevated for other reasons, such as chronic infections or inflammatory diseases. Additional testing is often needed and depends on symptoms.

Children who have asthma are more likely to have elevated IgE levels than adults with asthma. Asthma that begins for the first time during adulthood, called adult-onset asthma, is more likely to be intrinsic, non-allergic asthma.

Given the role of IgE in certain asthma cases, treatment may involve an anti-IgE medication to lower amounts of this antibody and its effects. A blood test to check your levels can help determine whether this may or may not be useful in your case.

What Does It Mean if My IgE Level Is High? (1)

The Role of IgE

IgE is naturally produced by B cell lymphocytes, a type of immune white blood cell. This antibody normally activates physical responses to help your body fight infections.

For some people, exposure to allergens—which are harmless, non-infectious substances (like dust or pollen)—can also trigger the body to produce and release IgE.

In these situations, IgE antibodies bind to the allergen and trigger an inflammatory response that can manifest with allergy symptoms such as a skin rash, sneezing, and swollen lips. When it results in asthma, it is considered the allergic type.

Common allergens include:

  • Animal dander
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites
  • Molds
  • Pollen

When your body releases IgE, a cascade of immune responses follows, some of which are mediated by other immune cells in the body. IgE is believed tobind to and activate several types of immune cells, such as:

  • Basophils
  • Lymphocytes
  • Mast cells

When IgE binds with any of these cells, it can overstimulate your immune system. Additionally, your capillaries widen and become leakier, increasing inflammation by allowing the immune cells to cluster around the allergen.

Symptoms Caused by Excess IgE

When you have allergic asthma, your bronchi (airways) can become narrow and inflamed due to the rush of immune cells—and this rapidly exacerbates yourasthma symptoms.

Not only do the inflammatory cells prevent air from passing through your airways, but your airways may also suddenly spasm, making it difficult for air to pass as you try to breathe.

Increased levels of IgE may contribute to symptoms of asthma, such as:

  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Recurrent cough

The symptoms are usually mild, but they can be quite severe and may cause serious consequences, such as a life-threatening respiratory crisis.

Asthma Symptoms

(Video) Hyper IgE syndrome (Job's syndrome ) || Immunodeficiency disorder || clinical features

Diagnosis

If have not yet been formally diagnosed with asthma, your healthcare provider will review your specific symptoms. Those that suggest an allergic cause of your asthma include itchy eyes, nausea, sneezing, coughing, and congestion.

Sometimes the pattern of symptoms can point to allergic asthma when symptoms tend to occur in relation to allergen exposure. Allergy testing can help identify what may be triggering your condition.

IgE Testing

If there is a concern that you have allergic asthma, your healthcare provider might test your IgE level to help make a diagnosis and to help guide your treatment plan. Your healthcare provider will consider your results in the context of your symptoms and ot her diagnostic measures.

High IgE Levels

The most common cause of high IgE levels are allergic conditions. A high IgE level can't confirm a diagnosis of asthma. High IgE can only suggest that you may have some sort of allergic disorder.

However, antibody levels can vary, and your IgE level might be normal even if you have allergic asthma.

There can also be other reasons for abnormal immunoglobulin E levels.

Allergic Conditions

There are many types of allergic responses that may lead to high IgE levels. These include:

  • Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, that leads to symptoms such as runny nose and itchy eyes
  • Allergic asthma
  • Atopic dermatitis, a skin reaction
  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, a hypersensitivity to a soil fungus known as Aspergillus fumigatus
  • Allergic fungal rhinosinusitis, or a fungal sinus infection

An elevated IgE level supports the diagnosis of allergic asthma but does not give an indication of what the trigger(s) of your attackscould be.

Infections

Parasitic infections are the most common type of infection associated with high IgE levels, but it can also occur along with certain viral, bacterial, or fungal infections.

Infections associated with high IgE include:

  • Parasitic infections from Ascariasis, Schistosomiasis, or Strongyloidiasis
  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Tuberculosis, a bacterial infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Candidiasis, or a yeast infection caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida

Autoimmune and Inflammatory Diseases

Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks its own tissues. Inflammatory diseases are when there is an excess immune response that leads to inflammation. These can also be associated with high IgE.

Examples include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that often affects joints
  • Lupus, an autoimmune disease that can affect tissues and organs
  • Celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that leads to damage of the small intestine from an immune response to gluten
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that causes vasculitis (an inflammation of blood vessels)
  • Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory condition in children under age 5 that may be due to an infection and can affect the heart
  • Kimura disease, an inflammatory condition that causes swelling under the skin of the head and neck

Some immunodeficiencies, or conditions that impair the immune system's ability to fend off infections, may also contribute to high IgE.

Blood-Related Cancers

High IgE is also associated with certain blood-related cancers. This includes Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that starts in the lymph nodes, and IgE myeloma, a rare type of cancer that affects a type of white blood cells in bone marrow.

(Video) How can one reduce IgE count immediately?-Dr. Surekha Tiwari

Other Conditions

There are some other conditions and behaviors associated with high Ige:

  • Smoking
  • Medications used to treat or prevent bacterial infections, such as aztreonam or penicillin G
  • Cystic fibrosis, an inherited disorder that damages the lungs and digestive tract
  • Nephrotic syndrome, a kidney disorder
  • Bone marrow transplants

Treatment for High IgE Levels

There are a number of treatments for allergic asthma, includingavoiding allergens that areasthma triggers, if possible. However, it is not always possible to avoid allergens, especially if they are highly prevalent in the environment.

Inhalers containing immunosuppressants or bronchodilators are commonly used to treat allergic asthma.

Treatment with anti-IgE is another approach that can be used along with bronchodilators. Your IgE level can help your healthcare provider determine whether you might benefit from treatment that can lower IgE. But a high level is not a requirement for treatment with an anti-IgE.

Your healthcare provider might consider this if your asthma is persistent or if you have side effects from your treatment. Reducing your IgE, if elevated, is a more targeted method of preventing symptoms of allergic asthma than immunosuppression with steroids, which has long been a way of managing asthma by reducing inflammation.

Xolair (omalizumab)is an anti-IgE medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of allergic asthma for adults and children over the age of 6. It binds to IgE antibodies to reduce their effects and help prevent (though not treat) allergic asthma attacks.

Indications for Xolair include:

  • Severe or persistent asthma that's inadequately controlled with inhaled corticosteroids and a positive skin test or positive blood allergy test
  • Chronic skin rash that's inadequately controlled with antihistamines

Xolair is given every two to four weeks as a subcutaneous (under the skin) injection administered by a healthcare provider. Side effects can include injection site reactions, infections, headaches, and sore throat.

Xolair for the Treatment of Asthma

A Word From Verywell

Allergic asthma is caused by an overreaction to one or more specific allergens, and you are likely to experience symptoms every time you are exposed to them. High levels of IgE can support a diagnosis of allergic asthma, and anti-IgE medication may help control your symptoms.

If you are already on an allergic asthma treatment plan without adequate control of your asthma, speak with your healthcare provider about your persistent symptoms. You may benefit from revising your treatment approach.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What happens if IgE is too high?

    In the case of allergies and allergic asthma, it sets off a chain of events that contributes to symptoms, such as a runny nose or cough.

    (Video) Blood Test: Immunoglobulin E (IgE) - what does a high immunoglobulin e level mean

    Learn More:What Types of Allergy Tests Are Available?

  • What is the main function of IgE?

    It plays a primary role in triggering inflammation in an immune response to an allergen and in defending against parasites.

    Learn More:What Are Allergens?

  • What foods increase IgE?

    This depends on what (if anything) you are allergic to. For example, if you are allergic to peanuts, cow's milk, eggs, or soy, IgE may increase if you consume it.

    Learn More:The 9 Most Common Food Allergies

  • What is a normal immunoglobulin E level?

    A normal range for immunoglobulin E is typically between 4 kU/1 and 100 kU/1 for adults. For children, normal ranges vary based on age.

    (Video) IgE | high ige levels in blood | ige level high treatment | high ige | how to cure ige allergy | ige
  • What are the five immunoglobulins and what are they used for?

    • IgA is found in mucosal tissue, such as the respiratory tract and digestive system, and defends against infections.
    • IgD binds to B cells to initiate an immune response but its role is not well understood. It is found in small amounts in blood.
    • IgG is the most common type of antibody. It is found in blood and bodily fluids and defends against viruses and bacteria.
    • IgA is part of allergic reactions and defends against parasites. It is found in small amounts in blood.
    • IgM is the first to fight infections and help trigger release of other antibodies. It is found in blood and lymph fluid.

    Learn More:Types of Antibodies

  • Can high IgE cause fatigue?

    High IgE may contribute to fatigue due to its role in triggering an inflammatory response. However, low IgE is more strongly associated with this symptom.

  • Do antihistamines lower IgE?

    They may, but they do not target IgE directly. Antihistamines block the receptor for histamine, a substance released during an allergic response that contributes to allergy symptoms.

FAQs

What happens when IgE level is high? ›

A total IgE test result that is high means that you may have some kind of allergy. But the results of a total IgE test don't show what you're allergic to or how serious your allergy may be. A specific IgE test result that is high means that you may be allergic to the allergen that was tested.

What causes IgE levels to be high? ›

Diseases which cause the elevation of serum IgE levels include atopic diseases (asthma, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, urticaria), parasitic diseases, cutaneous diseases, neoplastic diseases, and immune deficiencies [3].

What IgE level is considered high? ›

Variations in the upper limit of normal total serum IgE have been reported: they can range from 150 to 1,000 UI/ml; but the usually accepted upper limit is between 150 and 300 UI/ml.

How do you get rid of high IgE? ›

Several strategies for decreasing IgE have been developed as a possible treatment for asthma. For example, anti-IgE monoclonal antibodies such as rhuMAb-E25 and CGP 56901 block binding of IgE to its high-affinity receptor and have been shown to reduce IgE levels in humans without causing anaphylaxis.

Can high IgE levels be treated? ›

Omalizumab is a recombinant humanized monoclonal antibody that binds IgE and has been used treat allergic asthma for over a decade. Currently, omalizumab is approved for the treatment of both allergic asthma and chronic spontaneous urticaria.

Does high IgE mean autoimmune disease? ›

Increased IgE levels have also been reported in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other autoimmune disease that are driven by the aberrant production of interferon and self-damaging autoantibodies.

How can I reduce my IgE naturally? ›

Other studies have found that green tea lowers blood levels of the IgE antibody, a compound that's a prime player in the body's allergic and inflammatory response. Food plays an important role in helping our bodies bolster its natural defences.

Can high IgE cause fatigue? ›

These antibodies belong to a category known as immunoglobulin E. In addition to immunoglobulin E, the immune system releases a substance called histamine. When both of these substances produce an inflammatory reaction in the body, you may experience a sense of tiredness alongside other, more obvious allergic symptoms.

What foods increase IgE? ›

IgE-mediated food allergies cause your child's immune system to react abnormally when exposed to one or more specific foods such as milk, egg, wheat or nuts.
...
The most common food allergens include:
  • Milk.
  • Egg.
  • Soy.
  • Wheat.
  • Peanut.
  • Tree nuts.
  • Fish.
  • Shellfish.

Does high IgE mean low immunity? ›

IgE levels are a marker of immune health. Low or high levels don't necessarily indicate a problem if there are no symptoms or if your doctor tells you not to worry about it. There are no symptoms associated with low IgE levels per se. Instead, people with low IgE may only show symptoms of conditions discussed below.

Is 2500 IgE normal? ›

The quantum fall in total serum IgE levels is smaller in patients with baseline IgE levels less than 2500 IU/mL, and this point should be kept in mind while managing patients with ABPA. The magnitude of decline in IgE levels did not predict the occurrence of clinical outcomes in patient with ABPA.

Can Exercise Lower IgE levels? ›

Acute steady state moderate exercise significantly altered circulating IgE concentrations in volunteers with known allergy, while IgE concentrations in non-allergy sufferers did not change.

How long does it take for IgE levels to reduce? ›

The half-life of IgE in serum is about 3 days, compared with 20 days for IgG, but its lifespan can be extended to 2 weeks in skin tissue [6]. Specific IgEs are upregulated in response to exposure to specific allergens.

Which doctor should I consult for high IgE? ›

An allergist-immunologist may also be known by the following names: allergist, allergist and clinical immunologist, allergy doctor, immunologist, asthma specialist, and allergy specialist.

Does high IgE mean asthma? ›

In a large study, high serum IgE was observed in children with severe asthma and in adults with early-onset asthma [96], whereas very high serum IgE (>2000 kU·L1) also correlated with the severity of dermatitis [97].

What is IgE level in allergy? ›

An allergen-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) test measures the levels of different IgE antibodies. Antibodies (also called immunoglobulins) are proteins the immune system makes to recognize and get rid of germs. The blood usually has small amounts of IgE antibodies.

What if IgE level is more than 1000? ›

Atopic eczema, allergic broncho-pulmonary aspergillosis, helminthic infections and rare primary immunodeficiencies are known to elevate total serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) above 1000 IU/mL.

What does IgE blood test show? ›

The total IgE test measures the overall quantity of immunoglobulin E in the blood, not the amount of a specific type. It can be used to detect an allergic response in the body rather than a specific allergy. This test may compliment the information provided by allergy tests that detect allergen-specific IgE.

Can you have high IgE without allergies? ›

Increased IgE without other symptoms is likely of no clinical significance, although it is surprising that the value is increasing. There was no mention of eosinophilia. If eosinophilia were present, I would be more concerned about occult parasite disease such as echinococcal disease or schistosomiasis.

Can IgE levels change? ›

The amount of IgE present in your blood varies constantly due to many factors, only some of them related to how allergic you are. A blood IgE test gives us only a snapshot in time regarding IgE in your blood.

Is IgE an inflammatory marker? ›

Immunoglobulin E is a key mediator of the inflammatory reactions that are central to the pathogenesis of respiratory diseases such as Asthma. There is evidence that IgE plays a central role in allergic responses to allergens in asthma and rhinitis patients (Bousquet et al., 2006).

Which diseases lead to elevated levels of IgE and eosinophilia? ›

These parasitic infections may also cause eosinophilia. Nonparasitic infectious causes of elevated IgE levels include Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Epstein-Barr virus,cytomegalovirus, and human immunodeficiency virus [1].

Do people with lupus have high IgE? ›

Elevated serum IgE concentrations in systemic lupus erythematosus are related to history of childhood allergy, asthma, and hives. NIOSHTIC No. RATIONALE: Elevated serum IgE concentrations have sometimes been found in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) patients.

How do you flush allergens out of your system? ›

"While your body is purging the allergen food from it is system, the best thing you can do is drink plenty of fluids," Zeitlin says. Water is always a good idea, but you can also sip on low calorie sports drinks to replenish the electrolytes you're likely losing, Zeitlin says.

What foods make allergies worse? ›

It's true— certain foods can in fact make your seasonal allergies worse. Alcohol, peanuts, sugar, processed foods, wheat, chocolate, and even your morning cup of coffee are known culprits that act as hay fever catalysts.

Is turmeric good for allergies? ›

Turmeric is commonly thought to help with allergies because it contains curcumin. Research has shown curcumin can stop the production of some inflammatory molecules in mice. One study even suggests that humans might reduce allergic rhinitis symptoms with daily turmeric consumption.

Do antihistamines lower IgE? ›

Do antihistamines lower IgE? They may, but they do not target IgE directly. 16 Antihistamines block the receptor for histamine, a substance released during an allergic response that contributes to allergy symptoms.

How accurate is IgE allergy testing? ›

A positive SPT is reliable about 50 percent of the time, but a negative SPT result is about 95 percent predictive. By itself, the positive result just indicates that your body has made allergic antibodies, called IgE, to a specific food. This is called “sensitization,” and by itself is not enough for a diagnosis.

What does allergy fatigue feel like? ›

A lack of sleep and constant nasal congestion can give you a hazy, tired feeling. Experts call this fatigue caused by allergies a “brain fog.” Brain fog can make it difficult to concentrate and carry out school, work, and daily activities.

What is the difference between IgG and IgE? ›

Everybody has IgG antibodies, but occasionally they start to react against foods. This is what can cause food allergies or delayed-onset food allergies (food hypersensitivities, commonly also known as food intolerance). IgE mediated allergies (type I) are completely different from IgG mediated allergies (type III).

Where is IgE found in the body? ›

IgE is produced by plasma cells located in lymph nodes draining the site of antigen entry or locally, at the sites of allergic reactions, by plasma cells derived from germinal centers developing within the inflamed tissue.

How severe is a Class 2 allergy? ›

Class 2: Moderate level of allergy (0.70 KUA/L – 3.49 KUA/L) indicative of stronger ongoing sensitization.

What is IgE in immunology? ›

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) are antibodies produced by the immune system. If you have an allergy, your immune system overreacts to an allergen by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.

Is 2500 IgE normal? ›

The quantum fall in total serum IgE levels is smaller in patients with baseline IgE levels less than 2500 IU/mL, and this point should be kept in mind while managing patients with ABPA. The magnitude of decline in IgE levels did not predict the occurrence of clinical outcomes in patient with ABPA.

How can I reduce my IgE naturally? ›

10 Eating Tips to Help You Minimize Allergy Symptoms
  1. Allergy and Asthma Symptom Relievers. ...
  2. Avoid Spicy Foods When Pollen Counts Are High. ...
  3. Don't Eat Raw Foods at the Height of Allergy Season. ...
  4. Eat Yogurt and Other Probiotics. ...
  5. Stick to a Low-Salt Diet. ...
  6. Skip the Fast Food.
16 Dec 2013

What foods increase IgE? ›

IgE-mediated food allergies cause your child's immune system to react abnormally when exposed to one or more specific foods such as milk, egg, wheat or nuts.
...
The most common food allergens include:
  • Milk.
  • Egg.
  • Soy.
  • Wheat.
  • Peanut.
  • Tree nuts.
  • Fish.
  • Shellfish.

Which doctor should I consult for high IgE? ›

An allergist-immunologist may also be known by the following names: allergist, allergist and clinical immunologist, allergy doctor, immunologist, asthma specialist, and allergy specialist.

Can high IgE cause fatigue? ›

These antibodies belong to a category known as immunoglobulin E. In addition to immunoglobulin E, the immune system releases a substance called histamine. When both of these substances produce an inflammatory reaction in the body, you may experience a sense of tiredness alongside other, more obvious allergic symptoms.

What does IgE blood test show? ›

The total IgE test measures the overall quantity of immunoglobulin E in the blood, not the amount of a specific type. It can be used to detect an allergic response in the body rather than a specific allergy. This test may compliment the information provided by allergy tests that detect allergen-specific IgE.

Are IgE blood tests accurate? ›

A positive SPT is reliable about 50 percent of the time, but a negative SPT result is about 95 percent predictive. By itself, the positive result just indicates that your body has made allergic antibodies, called IgE, to a specific food.

Can exercise Lower IgE levels? ›

Acute steady state moderate exercise significantly altered circulating IgE concentrations in volunteers with known allergy, while IgE concentrations in non-allergy sufferers did not change.

Can IgE levels change? ›

The amount of IgE present in your blood varies constantly due to many factors, only some of them related to how allergic you are. A blood IgE test gives us only a snapshot in time regarding IgE in your blood.

How do you flush allergens out of your system? ›

Keep yourself hydrated. "While your body is purging the allergen food from it is system, the best thing you can do is drink plenty of fluids," Zeitlin says. Water is always a good idea, but you can also sip on low calorie sports drinks to replenish the electrolytes you're likely losing, Zeitlin says.

How long does it take for IgE levels to reduce? ›

The half-life of IgE in serum is about 3 days, compared with 20 days for IgG, but its lifespan can be extended to 2 weeks in skin tissue [6]. Specific IgEs are upregulated in response to exposure to specific allergens.

What if IgE level is more than 1000? ›

Atopic eczema, allergic broncho-pulmonary aspergillosis, helminthic infections and rare primary immunodeficiencies are known to elevate total serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) above 1000 IU/mL.

Can allergies Be Cured? ›

Can allergies be cured? Allergies can't be cured, but symptoms can be controlled using a combination of avoidance measures and medications, as well as allergen immunotherapy in properly selected cases.

How do I know what triggers my allergies? ›

Your GP or an allergist can do tests such as skin prick testing or serum-specific IgE (RAST) allergy tests to identify the trigger.
...
These triggers can affect:
  1. Breathing – asthma and hay fever.
  2. Skin – dermatitis, eczema and hives.
  3. Eyes – allergic conjunctivitis.
  4. Whole body – anaphylaxis (rare but very serious)

What is IgE in immunology? ›

Immunoglobulin E (IgE) are antibodies produced by the immune system. If you have an allergy, your immune system overreacts to an allergen by producing antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, causing an allergic reaction.

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6. Allergy: Genetics and IgE – Immunology | Lecturio
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