Celiac Disease Diagnosis

The Celiac Disease diagnosis has been made for individuals of every age.

There currently are two methods that result in a Celiac Disease diagnosis. The Very Important Note below applies to both methods.

Very Important note from Celiac Support Group to anyone who thinks they might have a problem with gluten: Do not go gluten-free before being tested for celiac disease! Otherwise, these diagnostic tests for celiac disease may be falsely negative, and to know for sure will require a patient to eat a bunch of gluten again before retesting (doctors’ timetables may differ).

The serology (blood) tests for Celiac Disease diagnosis are relative new. They are sometimes referred to as a “Celiac blood panel” that includes IgA antibody tests (tissue transglutaminase [tTG], deamidated gliadin peptides [DGP], endomysial [EMA]) and may include Total IgA.

The more traditional test for Celiac Disease diagnosis is a small bowel biopsy, which may be referred to as an endoscopy. The endoscopy and blood results may not always agree. For example, a small percentage of people who test negative on the serology tests have endoscopy results that are positive for Celiac Disease.

Looking forward...“Near patient testing” or NPT is a relatively new concept that describes testing in a doctor's office, hospital, clinic, or by a patient at home, to replace or supplement laboratory testing. In the UK, researchers have used pharmaceutical company awards to study NPT as a future possibility for follow-up testing of diagnosed Celiacs. The authors conclude that their “pilot study has demonstrated that there appears to be a role for near-patient testing in coeliac disease, but further studies are recommended.” For more information, link to the abstract here.

Follow-up testing is important for diagnosed Celiacs.  When follow-up celiac serology results lower into the normal range, it means the Celiac patient no longer is experiencing an active immunological response, because his/her gluten free diet is working well -- a good thing!  When foIlow-up celiac serology results lower into the normal range, it does not mean that the diagnosed Celiac patient no longer has Celiac Disease.  

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