Jump to content
  • Sign Up
  • Join Our Community!

    Get help in our celiac / gluten-free forum.

  • Scott Adams
    Scott Adams

    Celiac Disease Screening

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      What's involved in screening and testing for celiac disease? Here are the basics of celiac screening.


    Caption: Image: CC--Free Images

    Celiac.com 03/05/2019 - Doctors commonly suggest celiac screening for anyone with a family history of celiac disease, or of disorders such as thyroid disease, anemia of unknown cause, type I diabetes or other immune disorders or Downs syndrome. Otherwise, patients are generally screened on a case by case basis according to individual symptoms.

    Genetic Testing

    Celiac disease is influenced, but not determined, by genetics. That means that susceptibility to celiac disease can be inherited, but the disease itself is not inherited. At least two genes, HLA-DQ2, HLA-DQ8, play a major role in celiac disease susceptibility. About 95% of people with celiac disease have the HLA-DQ2 gene and most of the remaining 5% have the HLA-DQ8 gene. A number of genetic testing services can tell you whether you have these genes. Some will test specifically for celiac genetics, others will test for celiac genetics as part of a general test. Genetic testing can help to indicate whether you might have a greater risk for celiac disease.

    Antibodies Point to Celiac Disease

    People with celiac disease have abnormally high levels of associated antibodies, including one or more of the following: anti-gliadin, anti-endomysium and anti-tissue transglutaminase, and damage to the villi (shortening and villous flattening) in the lamina propria and crypt regions of their intestines when they eat specific food-grain antigens (toxic amino acid sequences) that are found in wheat, rye, and barley. Antibodies are the specialized proteins the immune system uses to break down and eliminate foreign substances from the body. In people with celiac disease, the immune system treats gluten as a foreign invader and produces elevated levels of antibodies to get rid of it, causing symptoms and associated discomfort.

    Testing for Celiac Antibodies

    A blood test, such as anti-tissue transglutaminase and anti-endomysial antibodies, can detect abnormally high antibody levels, and is often used in the initial detection of celiac in people who are most likely to have the disease, and for those who may need further evaluation. Since the immune system of a person with celiac treats gluten as a foreign substance and increases the number of antibodies, elevated levels of these antibodies are a sign of celiac disease.

    Clinical Celiac Testing

    Typically, initial blood screening for celiac disease is done at a doctor’s office or at a clinic. Typically, such tests are ordered by a physician for patients who show symptoms, and/or a family history of celiac disease. If the results are positive, doctors will usually seek to confirm the diagnosis with a biopsy.

    Home Test Kits for Celiac Disease

    In the last several years, a number of accurate, reliable home test kits for celiac disease have come onto the market. Some of these kits deliver quick results in the home, while others require the consumer to mail the sample to a lab and receive the results later. Some mail-in kits use the same tests and labs as clinics do.
     
    Home test kits can offer convenience, confidentiality, and savings to consumers. They can also provide confidence for people, with or without symptoms, who believe they may have celiac disease. It’s not a good idea to use home test kits to diagnose celiac disease. As with clinical test results, positive results from home test kits should be confirmed by a doctor, and proper diagnosis and care should be initiated. 

    Confirming Celiac Diagnosis

    To confirm a diagnosis of celiac disease, your doctor will likely want to do a biopsy. That’s where they visually examine a the small intestine to check for celiac-related damage. To do this, your doctor inserts an endoscope, a thin flexible tube, through your mouth, esophagus and stomach into your small intestine. The doctor then takes a sample of intestinal tissue to look for damage to the villi, the tiny, hair-like projections in the walls of the small intestine that absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. If the biopsy shows celiac-associated damage, the doctor will confirm the diagnosis and encourage you to adopt a gluten-free diet.

    Edited by Scott Adams


    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments



    This is outdated. It doesn't talk about the newer deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) antibody test. Things are changing rapidly, please update. Also, I would suggest more details like a table of what results of various tests mean in terms of interpretation, and also ideally info on when you need to get an endoscopy/biopsy and when you don't. Thank you!

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    Guest Davinderjit Singh

    Posted

    I am 44 years old. I was suffering from diarrhea, weight loss and anemia for a long time. My weight was 48 kg (5.10 feet height) and my HB was 8.0. My doctor advised me for ttg- anibody blood test in 2005. It was positive, so I started the gluten free diet. After six months, my weight was 85 kg, HB was 14.00 without any medicine. now my weight is 90 kg and my HB is 14.0. I am trying to lose weight. I am eating Maize grain chipati and sometimes rice. I got good information from your website.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    What do you do if you have been on a gluten-free diet for four years but didn't get diagnosed "officially" by a doctor? When I told my doctor that I hadn't eaten wheat in 6 weeks and my migraines, of which I was having about 23 a month, had all but gone. He said "don't eat wheat." I didn't think to have a test done. He did test me a year before I stopped eating wheat for high levels of inflammation in my body. He didn't know what caused it and that is when I started doing research and stumbled upon gluten-free/celiac disease. I suffered from debilitating migraines for years and found that they were triggered by wheat (even trace amounts or "processed in a plant with wheat") and MSG. The migraines just got worse and worse as I got older. Just wondering what to do now if I am considering the tax deduction aspect or anything else that may require a diagnosis. Will doing a test even see anything at this point?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    The latest event I have been having was inflammation of veins, and bottom of heart inflammation again. My Sister had low iron and we started immediately cutting gluten out of our diets, and the fog my brain has been in is finally disappearing and I am feeling new day by day.

    My adult son has suffered too. I am sure my mom who died of undiagnosed weird ailments at age 66 was celiac at a worst case. I am sad I wish she knew why now. I am gluten-free for life. My age is 45. Woman.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    This is outdated. It doesn't talk about the newer deamidated gliadin peptide (DGP) antibody test. Things are changing rapidly, please update. Also, I would suggest more details like a table of what results of various tests mean in terms of interpretation, and also ideally info on when you need to get an endoscopy/biopsy and when you don't. Thank you!

    Agreed! I would love to see some tables for interpretation, as well as when is it necessary to biopsy. I have a 7 year old who I would love to avoid putting under in order to do a biopsy, but what results can I rely on to not have to go down that road?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    Since the day I was born I've been dealing with stomach issues, bloating/pain/all the Celiac symptoms...I went through a lot of stress after a car accident entire system crashed.  For 2 years my body swelled - couldn't' sleep or eat, super constipated, family doctor send me to a psychiatrist than a Gastroentologist whom diagnosed me with "IBS" by tapping on my tummy.  He didn't investigate into the Stomach-Gut problems, No Blood work, No ultrasound, nothing!!  Friend referred me to a Nutrionist/ND, after testing I have Anemia, Vitamin B deficiency, Thyroid problems; she suggested I try gluten-free diet for 3 months to begin and the swelling + health problems began clearing up.  My family doctor ordered me to Stop seeing a ND b/c she doesn't believe in Natural Medicine, here I am.

    It's impossible to find any doctor in Alberta or a Good Doctor who has time to listen and find out the problem; it's a 5 min In & Out Appt.  It makes me wonder why people choose to become a doctor to not care for a patient's need?? 

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites
    2 hours ago, Guest fubu said:

    Since the day I was born I've been dealing with stomach issues, bloating/pain/all the Celiac symptoms...I went through a lot of stress after a car accident entire system crashed.  For 2 years my body swelled - couldn't' sleep or eat, super constipated, family doctor send me to a psychiatrist than a Gastroentologist whom diagnosed me with "IBS" by tapping on my tummy.  He didn't investigate into the Stomach-Gut problems, No Blood work, No ultrasound, nothing!!  Friend referred me to a Nutrionist/ND, after testing I have Anemia, Vitamin B deficiency, Thyroid problems; she suggested I try gluten-free diet for 3 months to begin and the swelling + health problems began clearing up.  My family doctor ordered me to Stop seeing a ND b/c she doesn't believe in Natural Medicine, here I am.

    It's impossible to find any doctor in Alberta or a Good Doctor who has time to listen and find out the problem; it's a 5 min In & Out Appt.  It makes me wonder why people choose to become a doctor to not care for a patient's need?? 

    Welcome to the forum fubu! :)

    Your story of poor diagnosis is unfortunately not unusual.  Most people with celiac disease are still undiagnosed today.  Partly because many doctors don't think to check for celiac.   Celiac and the gluten-free diet is more accepted in the non-traditional medicine field.  But it would have been better for your ND to have you tested for celiac before going on the gluten-free diet.  Now that you are gluten-free the celiac testing will not be accurate since your immune system response to gluten is declining.

    The important things is you are feeling better.  Many of the forum members have not got a formal celiac diagnosis for similar reasons.  Even some main stream traditional doctors will suggest people try the gluten-free diet without testing them first.  Ignorance about celiac disease is in abundance in the medical field.

    Edited by GFinDC

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites



    Join the conversation

    You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • About Me

    Celiac.com's Founder and CEO, Scott was diagnosed with celiac disease  in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. Scott launched the site that later became Celiac.com in 1995 "To help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives."  In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of Journal of Gluten Sensitivity.

×
×
  • Create New...