Pathology Laboratory

Celiac Disease Test

Celiac disease is a condition where the body attacks itself when eating gluten. It causes severe damage to the small intestine. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the body attacks itself.

What is a celiac disease test?

Are you suffering from unexplained stomach pain or diarrhea? Do you feel tired and weak? Celiac disease test to determine whether you have celiac disease!

celiac disease test is to help diagnose celiac disease and to evaluate the effectiveness of a gluten-free diet.

When did celiac disease test advise?

When you have symptoms suggesting celiac disease, such as 

  • chronic diarrhoea
  • bloating
  • abdominal pain
  • anaemia
  • weight loss
  • when an infant is chronically irritable or cannot grow at a normal rate
  • when a close family member has celiac disease
  • when you are being treated for celiac disease
Any special preparations required for the celiac disease test?

For celiac disease test, continue to eat foods that contain gluten for some time, such as several weeks, before testing. For monitoring celiac disease when you have already been diagnosed, no preparation is necessary.

What is a celiac disease antibody test?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterized by an inappropriate immune response to gluten, a protein found in wheat, and related dietary proteins in rye and barley. 

Celiac disease antibody tests help diagnose and monitor the disease and a few other gluten-sensitive conditions. These tests detect autoantibodies in the blood that the body produces as part of the immune response.

This immune response leads to inflammation of the small intestine and to damage and destruction of the villi that line the intestinal wall. The villi are projections, small tissue folds that increase the surface area of the intestine and allow nutrients, vitamins, minerals, fluids, and electrolytes to be absorbed into the body. When a susceptible person is exposed to gluten, the person’s body produces autoantibodies that act against constituents of the intestinal villi.

When villi are damaged or destroyed, the body is much less capable of absorbing food and develops signs and symptoms associated with malnutrition and malabsorption.

A tissue biopsy of the small intestine is still considered the gold standard to used to confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease, but the availability of less invasive blood tests to screen for celiac disease has reduced the number of biopsies needed.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is naturally present in cereal grains, especially wheat, and handles the elastic texture of dough. It can be found in many foods, acting as a ‘glue’ that helps foods maintain their shape. Examples of these foods include:

  • Bread and other baked goods
  • Pasta
  • Soups
  • Cereals
  • Sauces
  • Salad dressings

Besides wheat, gluten may be found in many other grains, such as:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Durum
  • Farina
  • Triticale
  • Malt
  • Rye
  • Semolina

Celiac Disease Blood Test

Celiac disease antibody tests are primarily used to help diagnose and monitor celiac disease in people with signs and symptoms, including anaemia and abdominal pain.

Sometimes celiac testing may screen for asymptomatic celiac disease in those who have close relatives with the disease since about 4-12% of them have or will develop celiac disease. Testing may also be ordered in those who have other autoimmune diseases.

Celiac disease blood tests measure the number of particular antibodies in the blood. The most common tests include:

  • Tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG), IgA class the primary test ordered to screen for celiac disease. It is the most sensitive and specific blood test for celiac disease and is the single test preferred by doctors for the detection of celiac disease in those over the age of 2 years. If the test is positive, it can also monitor the condition and to help evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. (Although “tissue” is in the name of this test, it is measured in the blood.)
  • Immunoglobulin A (IgA) this test is usually ordered along with the tTG IgA test (below) to detect IgA deficiency, which occurs in about 2-3% of people with celiac disease. If you have an IgA deficiency, then the test for tTG IgA may be negative even if you have celiac disease (false-negative test results). If the IgA test shows you have an IgA deficiency, then a test to detect the IgG class of autoantibodies may be advised.
  • tTG, IgG may be used as an alternative test in people who have a deficiency in IgA.
  • Deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) antibodies (anti-DGP), IgA or IgG may be used in some people with suspected celiac disease who are negative for anti-tTG, especially children younger than 2 years old. DGP IgG testing along with anti-tTG IgG is recommended by the American College of Gastroenterology for people who have low IgA or IgA deficiency. If the anti-DGP test is positive, it may monitor celiac disease.

To confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease, a biopsy of the small intestine is examined to detect damage to the intestinal villi. However, given the invasive nature and cost of a biopsy, antibody tests are often used to identify those individuals with a high probability of having celiac disease. 

Celiac Disease Test Signs and Symptoms

Celiac disease tests are advised when someone has signs and symptoms suggesting celiac disease, malnutrition, and/or malabsorption. The symptoms are often nonspecific and variable, making the disease difficult to spot. The symptoms may, for a time, be mild and go unnoticed and then progressively worse, or occur sporadically. Different parts of the body can be affected.

Digestive related signs and symptoms may include;

  • Abdominal pain and distension
  • Bloody stool
  • Chronic diarrhoea or constipation
  • Flatulence
  • Greasy, foul-smelling stools
  • Vomiting

Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Iron-deficiency anaemia that does not respond to iron supplements
  • Easy bruising and/or bleeding
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Defects in dental enamel
  • Fatigue, weakness
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Weight loss
  • In adults, infertility, osteoporosis

Many people with celiac disease have dermatitis herpetiformis, a disease that causes itchy blisters on the skin. There is also an increased risk for developing intestinal lymphoma, cancer.

One or more antibody tests may be ordered when someone with celiac disease has been on a gluten-free diet for some time. This is done to verify that antibody levels have decreased and to verify that the diet has been effective in reversing the intestinal lining damage (this is sometimes still confirmed by a second biopsy).

Asymptomatic people may be tested if they have a close relative, such as a parent or sibling with celiac disease, but celiac disease testing is not recommended as a screen for the general population.

Celiac Disease Test for Children

In children, celiac disease tests may be advised when a child exhibits;

  • Digestive tract symptoms
  • Delayed development
  • Short stature
  • Failure to thrive
What is the difference between celiac disease and wheat allergy?

Allergies involve hypersensitivity reactions and the production of specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies directed against grains such as wheat and rye. These antibodies may cause some symptoms similar to those caused by celiac disease, but they will only do so for a short time after you eat the food to which you are allergic or sensitive. The reaction may be mild or severe, but it is limited and does not cause damage to the lining of your intestine how celiac disease does. If you feel that you may have a wheat or other grain allergy, talk to your doctor about getting tested for these allergen-specific IgE antibodies.

Celiac disease can be cured?

No. Celiac disease does not go away. Once you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, you will need to follow a gluten-free diet for life. If you eat gluten again, you will damage the lining of your intestines; it just may take a while for the symptoms to come back.

Do I need to follow a gluten-free diet if I diagnosed with celiac disease?

If you have asymptomatic celiac disease, it is recommended that you follow a gluten-free diet. You will still have damaged villi in your intestines and you may have malabsorption problems that are causing silent conditions such as osteoporosis. If you have doubts about the accuracy of your diagnosis, work with your doctor to verify the findings.

Genetic test for celiac disease

The celiac disease test genetic. Genetic tests that look for the markers that are strongly associated with celiac disease have recently become available. These tests look for the Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) markers DQ2 and DQ8. A positive result does not diagnose celiac disease since about 30% of the general population also carry these markers but do not have the disease.

However, almost all people with celiac disease are positive for DQ2 or DQ8, so a negative result can essentially rule out celiac disease in those individuals for whom results of other tests, including biopsy, are unclear. These tests are most useful for family members of individuals with the disease that fall into a high-risk category and for those with other diagnostic test results that are inconclusive.

You may also interest in reading: ELISA Test

Reference: LabtestsOnline

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