More About Celiac Testing

<<< continued from page 1 of celiac testing.

*Please remember this information is here ONLY to help educate you so that you have a sort of diving board, if or when you decide to see your doctor about celiac disease tests*.

In my dealings with healthcare types, I've discovered that the worst thing you can do for yourself is walk in clueless and leaving everything up to them.

Just like when you walk in to see a lawyer, have a list of questions to ask and plan to have a healthy discussion. After all, they are billing you, right?

Other Forms of Celiac Testing

2. Genetic Testing - while this can be a great test, all it tells you is whether or not you have the celiac gene (HLA-DQ2 or HLA-DQ8).

Yet not everyone who has celiac disease has these genes, although most do.

Also, research shows that about 30% of the population has these genes, and of course, we know that not 30% of the population has celiac (1 in 133 people are estimated to have it).

So, it does not tell you if you actually have celiac disease or are even gluten intolerant. So it's more or less a test that can predict if you could have or could get celiac.

In Healthier Without Wheat, Dr. Stephen Wangen argues that "because no research has been done on genetic testing for other forms of gluten intolerance, millions of people who have a non-celiac form of gluten intolerance may not have these genes".

3. Endoscopy and Biopsy - This is considered the gold standard for testing for celiac testing. So a celiac diagnosis is a positive biopsy test.

[Read: celiac disease diagnosis]

The biopsy test is a pretty invasive procedure however, and some celiac experts would suggest that it should be done only after your doctor has conducted blood tests and determined need for a biopsy.

In other words, if you go to your physician about celiac testing and the first thing they order is a biopsy, speak up. Find out why. Ask questions.

Sometimes things are done out of habit, and doctors are no exception to human error.

However, if you tested negative with the celiac panel tests but are convinced you're gluten sensitive, it's imperative that you talk to your doctor about the biopsy.

Basically, this test involves the endoscopy - a tube that is passed down the throat into the upper part of the small intestine. This allows the doctor to look in and biopsy, that is, take a small sample of the tissue for examination.

[Read more about biopsy and its limitations in diagnosing celiac disease]

4. Confocal Laser Endomicronoscopy - this involves having an endoscopy but instead of a biopsy, the doctor can take detailed microscopic pictures of the tissue.

As you can see, this is still quite invasive but removes need for a biopsy.

However, the test is not very widely available.

5. MRI, CT Scan, X-Ray, Ultrasound - These are tools used to test for abnominal and/or digestive problems. But having abdominal and digestive problems diagnosed does not in itself diagnose celiac disease or even gluten intolerance.

6. Camera in a Capsule - the patient swallows a camera and it takes pictures of the intestines as it passes through.

Obviously as you can imagine the limitation here is that abnormalities in themselves do not say much about whether or not one has gluten intolerance.

Other tests that may be used to measure such things as permeability or damage are: Intestinal Permeability, Colonoscopy and Fecal Fat test.

Done reading about celiac testing? Go to celiac disease symptoms.


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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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