Celiac Disease Test: What to Expect

Who should take a celiac disease test?

By the time most adults decide to test for Celiac, they have suffered a good bit, and probably tried many different things.

In his book "Celiac Disease, A Hidden Epidemic", Peter H.R. Green, M.D. (Director of the Celiac Center at Columbia University), has advice on how you should determine if you're ripe for a gluten intolerance test.

Basically, a celiac disease test will be used to determine if you have villous atrophy.

There are various ways to test for celiac, and while some of them are fairly cutting edge others are pretty much outdated.

Where to Look

For me personally, when it comes to gastro-intestinal issues, I like to insist on seeing a doctor that focuses on digestive and nutritional issues - for example, a Naturopathic Doctor (ND).

I have found that most Naturopaths are more likely to be focused on nutrition, food and diet.

If you suspect gluten intolerance and want to get tested, I'd look up a Naturopath in your area.

Your Physician may also be able to refer you to a specialist that deals in food allergies and/or digestive related issues and such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome etc

Again this is your call, but when you decide to get tested for celiac, know that you may be dealing with a situation where you're expecting a doctor to investigate a disease that is not cured with medication.

This is your body, your health and your life though - so fight for what you believe and don't let big titles intimidate you.

Accuracy

Note though that just because a test is cutting edge it does not mean it gives conclusive results for celiac testing.

Leaving your health up to somebody else could put you in the 97% of the people who suffer with celiac but are un-diagnosed.

Why would that be?

Well, according to some gluten intolerant experts working specifically with celiacs and gluten intolerant patients, most people do not get tested for celiac unless they specifically ask for the celiac disease test.

I love doctors, but my experience with some of them has left me feeling that they are too focused on medicating. I don't know about you, but personally I don't want to gobble medicines like they're going out of fashion.

Types of Celiac Tests

1. Celiac Panel - The Celiac panel is basically a blood test that will test for various things. This celiac test is not in itself conclusive but it can be used to rule out celiac disease.

  • The Tissue Transglutaminase Antibody Test (tTG-IgA and tTG-IgG)- the tissue transglutaminase is an enzyme in our bodies whose job is to fix damage in the intestinal tract. For those of us with a gluten allergy, when we ingest gluten, our body perceives an attack, and it responds by creating antibodies which in turn attack this important enzyme (autoimmunity). So this test measures the presence of these antibodies in your blood.
  • The Endomysial Antibody test (IGA EMA)- Although it is highly specific, it has its limits. For example, testing positive with this test indicates 100% that they will develop celiac, but one can test negative and then develop celiac a couple years later.

There are other more outdated celiac tests that are reported to still be in use. They include Stool testing for antibodies, reticulin antibody testing and salivary testing for antibodies.

Although the blood tests have their limits, they are good place to start before other more invasive tests.

But your doctor may recommend that you take further tests in an effort to come to a conclusive diagnosis.

Continue to Page 2 of celiac testing>>>


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Sources and Citations for this page:

  • Dr Stephen Wangen, Healthier Without Wheat (book)
  • Dr Peter H. R. Green, Celiac Disease, A Hidden Epidemic (book)



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