an ACE Level Test?
The angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) is an enzyme that
converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II. Angiotensin II helps increase blood
pressure by causing small blood vessels in the body to tighten or narrow.
Doctors can determine ACE levels by performing a simple
blood test known as the angiotensin converting
enzyme (ACE) level test.
Why Is an
ACE Level Test Performed?
Doctors most often use the ACE level test to monitor a disease
This condition causes inflammatory cells called granulomas to form in the body,
leading to organ inflammation. Organs that may be affected by sarcoidosis
- lymph nodes
People with sarcoidosis may experience fatigue, fever, and unexplained
weight loss. Other symptoms include:
- night sweats
- a loss of appetite
- swollen lymph nodes
- joint pain
- dry mouth
The granulomas associated with sarcoidosis increase the
amount of ACE in the blood. A doctor may use the ACE level test to help confirm
a sarcoidosis diagnosis or to monitor treatment for sarcoidosis.
Your doctor may also use the ACE level test to assess the
effectiveness of treatments for other medical conditions. One condition that
may be monitored with an ACE level test is Gaucher’s
disease. This is an inherited condition that causes fatty substances
called lipids to build up in cells and internal organs. Symptoms include easy
bruising, fatigue, and bone pain. High levels of the ACE enzyme can suggest you
have Gaucher’s disease and can also be used to track response to medical
Other conditions that may cause lower-than-normal ACE levels
- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- cystic fibrosis
Conditions that may cause higher-than-normal levels of ACE
- Gaucher’s disease
While an ACE level test can help reveal signs of underlying
medical conditions, the test is rarely used to diagnose these conditions. Other
tests are usually done along with an ACE level test before a diagnosis is
How Do I Prepare
for an ACE Level Test?
The ACE level test doesn’t require any special preparations.
You won’t need to fast or refrain from taking any prescription or
over-the-counter medications before the test is completed. However, you may
want to notify your healthcare provider about any blood-thinning medications
you may be taking. They may need to hold some extra pressure on the puncture
site after the blood draw to ensure you don’t experience excessive bleeding.
During an ACE Level Test?
The ACE level test involves taking a small sample of blood
from a vein in your arm. During a blood draw, the following steps will occur:
- To take your blood, a healthcare provider will
put a tight band known as a tourniquet around your arm. This will make your
veins easier to see.
- After cleaning the desired area with an antiseptic,
they’ll insert the needle. You may feel a slight prick or stinging sensation
when the needle goes in. However, the test itself isn’t painful.
- The blood is collected in a tube or vial attached
to the end of the needle.
- Once enough blood has been collected, they’ll
remove the needle and apply pressure to the puncture site for a few seconds.
- They’ll then put a bandage or gauze over the area
where the blood was drawn.
- After the test, your blood sample is sent to a
laboratory for testing.
- Your doctor will follow up with you to discuss
the Risks of an ACE Level Test?
The ACE level test carries few risks. Some people have a
slight bruise or experience soreness around the area where the needle was
inserted. However, this usually goes away within a few days. Call your doctor
if you experience severe bruising, discomfort, or pain after the test.
Other, more serious complications from blood tests can also
occur, but this is very rare. Such complications include:
- excessive bleeding
- fainting or dizziness
- blood accumulating under the skin, which is
called a hematoma
- infection at the puncture site
What Do My
ACE Level Test Results Mean?
ACE level test results can vary based on the laboratory that
performs the analysis. When you receive your results, you should receive a
reference range that defines normal ACE levels. In most cases, the reference
range is 8 to 53 microliters for adults. The reference range for ACE levels in
children can much higher depending on the laboratory that did the testing.
Higher-than-normal ACE levels may indicate sarcoidosis.
After treatment for sarcoidosis, your ACE levels should decrease. High levels
may also be signs of another underlying medical condition, such as cirrhosis or
Lower-than-normal ACE levels may indicate that sarcoidosis
is responding to treatment and may be in remission. ACE levels can also be low
if you are taking ACE-inhibiting medications, such as captopril
or Vasotec. However, if ACE levels start to rise even after treatment for
sarcoidosis, this could mean that the disease is progressing or that the
disease isn’t responding to treatment. In these cases, your doctor will work to
determine a more effective treatment plan for your condition.
It’s important to note that the ACE level test isn’t the
only test that’s used to diagnose sarcoidosis. Some people may have normal ACE
levels and still have sarcoidosis, while others may have high ACE levels and
not have sarcoidosis. Other tests that may be used to confirm a sarcoidosis diagnosis
include a liver panel, complete blood count (CBC), and calcium levels.
Regardless of your results, it’s critical to speak with your
doctor about what they may mean for you specifically.