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IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE CELIAC DISEASE, HOW DO YOU GET TESTED?

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First, opt for a blood test, but keep in mind these are not 100 percent accurate. These blood tests include IgA tissue transglutaminase (TtG) and IgA endomysial (EMA) antibody tests. Next, as recommended by Shelley Case, RD, a dietitian expert on celiac disease and member of the Medical Advisory Boards of the Celiac Disease Foundation and Gluten Intolerance Group in the U.S., get an upper endoscopy and biopsy including 4-6 intestinal biopsies including the duodenal bulb.

The biopsy removes tiny pieces of tissue from the small intestine to examine them for damage to the villi. An alternative to the intestinal biopsies is a skin biopsy ; note that a positive skin test means you do not need the intestinal biopsies whereas a negative skin test does not guarantee that you don't have celiac disease.

Celiac disease should not be taken lightly as there are many potential complications including malabsorption, anemia, osteoporosis and infertility. Unlike many diseases that require medication to treat the symptoms, celiac disease does not require medication but instead the strict avoidance of gluten (going on a gluten-free diet can heal existing intestinal damage in celiac patients though this process may take several years in adults; a healed intestine means that the villi can absorb nutrients from food in the bloodstream.

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