Celiac Disease blood testing is a topic that generates lots of confusion amongst the newly diagnosed. Most individuals just want to know the basic testing procedure, its accuracy, and what all the fancy alphabet Soup celiac disease terms actually mean. Sadly, most don’t really know much about their condition or what they can do to make things better. With that information in hand, you’ll be able to proceed to more detailed information.
Why are celiac disease blood tests done? One of the most common reasons is due to a genetic predisposition towards celiac disease. If one or both parents have this disorder, you’re at risk, too. Also, depending on the level of gluten intolerance, some children may show no symptoms at all. If you’re concerned about this, genetic testing is an important step to take.
So, why are celiac disease blood tests done? Well, one of the easiest tests to use for genetic testing is to look for low levels of both transglutaminase and gluconate in your blood. These are both antibodies, which means they act on something when they encounter it. In the case of celiac disease, one or both of these antibodies will be overactive, causing the symptoms we’re talking about. Low levels of these two antibodies, or lack of production, can sometimes be detected with blood tests.
The next set of tests are more detailed than just transglutaminase and gluconate testing. One of the most common celiac disease blood tests looks at the tissue transglutaminase activity. This can also be done with a stool sample, but stool samples aren’t as reliable. With either one of these tests, the tester looks for specific patterns of abnormality in your tissue. One common thing to see is to check for excess collagenase.
Another of the celiac disease blood tests looks for antibodies called immunoglobulin G (IgG). This antibody works to identify any gluten that you may have eaten recently. This is important because the vast majority of people have some gluten in their diet, even if they don’t think they do. It’s also good to remember that even if you don’t have celiac disease, you can still have IBS or irritable bowel syndrome, which are similar conditions. Your blood tests will help rule out those conditions as well.
The next part of the process is to set up an appointment with your doctor. You will need to go to your regular doctor to start, so you should set up an appointment the same day you begin your routine.
Keep in mind that your doctor may send you to a lab instead of an office for this first test, so keep an eye on what times your blood tests are scheduled. Some doctors will perform both at the same time, but it’s probably best to set up an appointment for the IgG antibody to be tested first. It should take about four weeks for the test to be complete.
After your celiac disease blood test is performed and you’ve gotten your results back, then you can decide if you want to undergo a formal gluten elimination diet. This will likely include avoiding foods that contain the proteins, such as wheat, barley, and rye. You’ll also want to avoid any foods that have gluten, such as breads, pastas, muffins, cookies, and cakes.
As you can see, a celiac disease blood test is not necessarily the only means of determining whether or not you have this condition. While you may be at risk for it, there are also other factors, such as genetics and diet, which could contribute to the symptoms you are experiencing.
It’s important that you keep these things in mind when considering a course of action to address your symptoms. For most people, once their doctor determines that their condition is in fact gluten-intolerant, the process of eliminating all potential sources of gluten from the diet is much easier.