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Low Iga

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My 2 1/2 year old son had some blood work done to rule out Celiac since he's underweight and not gaining and actually gone down in weight over the last few months. He's 26lbs and 36in. His IgA came back low, about 39 and our lab range is 66 to 436. What does a low reading like his mean?



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Selective IgA defiency is 10-20 times more common in patients with celiac disease than in the general population. Many of the tests for Celiac Disease are based on measuring levels of certain specific types of IgA antibodies (like antigliadin-Iga or endoymysial-IgA) - but if your *total* IgA is low then you will not tend to have enough IgA antibodies to make these tests positive - thus the phenomenon of false negatives.

That's one reason why "serum IgA" or "Total IgA" is included in some labs' panels for Celiac disease. If it comes back low, it is supposed to be a warning sign to the physician that the other test results in the panel cannot be trusted and he/she needs to seek an alternate method of diagnosing. A low serum IgA should tend to point the physician in the direction of suspecting Celiac Disease, not ruling it out.

The issue of low or absent IgA can be considered an autoimmune condition just by itself, but sometimes it occurs with other autoimmune conditions like Celiac Disease.

I assume the lab's ranges of normal were age-based and your child was still low?

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I think that children tend to be low in IgA anyway, which makes the Celiac tests done on children so inconclusive.

I had a low IgA (19) and the range was 80-200something. The doctor said it was fine. (She is not too Celiac savvy though) Since then, I have read that somewhere around 30% of the population is IgA deficient, so if you are being tested for Celiac and your IgA is already low, your test will most likely turn out negative since you are not producing within normal ranges anyway. This made a lot of sense to me and could be the case of your son.

I read that in "Living Gluten-Free for Dummies" by Danna Korn. (in case you are wondering) who is the founder (I believe) R.O.C.K.

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Good points and info! I reread my post and I definitely don't want to scare you or make you jump to the conclusion that your child has selective IgA deficiency - which lots of people live with just fine anyway. It's just something I would ask your doctor about, as I definitely think low IgA can skew other IgA-based test results, like the last poster mentioned.

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I certainly don't mean to tread on the thread... but, does anyone have any clue what it means when the IgA levels are far off the other end.... much *higher* than the normal range?

That happened with my son, who was 8 at the time of his testing. The high end of the reference range was about 100 LESS than what my son's actual level was.

I've never found anyone knowledgeable enough, with regards to IgA, to ask!

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does anyone have any clue what it means when the IgA levels are far off the other end.... much *higher* than the normal range?

I don't know. I did a quick search for two phrases, "elevated serum iga" and "hyper iga" and came up with lots of links that referenced a variety of autoimmune things. So you might just try searching for these phrases and reading the first few pages of links that come up.

Good luck!

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Well, I am really confused. I know the IGA says 39 (range 66-436), then under TTGA there is nothing, which I guess it means it is not back yet, it was a send out test, and then it says CELIA and under that IGA, Serum and it is 33 range 14-122. So is there something different with CELIA IGA, Serum as compared to IGA?



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The blood tests that comprise the Celiac panel are:

Anti-gliadin antibodies (AGA) both IgA and IgG

Anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA) - IgA

Anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG) - IgA

Total IgA level.

If you are confused with the results, it may be worth it to call the doctor and ask to speak to the nurse. Specifically ask what tests where run, and for each tests, what were the reference ranges and the result of the test. Lab tests pages can be very confusing to read!

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I agree, you need to speak with your DR to help with the interpretation of the results. I find it sad that DR's just give the results to people and don't feel the need to offer any explanation... mine did just that. In her case, I'm not sure that she herself knew what they meant. :(

I found more information by doing exactly what you are... googling and posting on this forum. Sometimes, we have to really seek the answers to help figure out what is wrong with us. I hope you find your answers.


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