Celiac Test

Last updated: February 24th, 2024

Wheat grains
Photo by Max Böttinger on Unsplash

Celiac disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder characterised by an adverse reaction to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

How does the celiac test work

A Celiac test is a diagnostic tool used to detect celiac disease. It measures specific antibodies in the blood, which show an immune response to gluten.

The most common type of Celiac test is the serological test, which detects antibodies such as:

  • anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) antibodies, and
  • anti-endomysial antibodies (EMA).

The immune system produces these antibodies when an individual with Celiac disease ingests gluten.

Another type of test is the genetic test, which identifies specific genetic markers associated with Celiac disease. These include the HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8 genes.

When to go for a celiac test

Healthcare providers as gastroenterologists, dieticians and nutritionists may recommend the test for individuals who show symptoms suggestive of Celiac disease. Such symptoms include:

  • chronic gastrointestinal issues, e.g., diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating,
  • fatigue,
  • unexplained weight loss,
  • anemia,
  • dermatitis herpetiformis, i.e. a skin rash associated with gluten sensitivity, or
  • a family history of Celiac disease.

A Celiac test confirms or rules out a diagnosis of Celiac disease.

Early detection is crucial

Early detection is crucial for several reasons:

Starting treatment

A definitive diagnosis allows implementing an appropriate treatment plan. This usually involves adopting a strict gluten-free diet. Eliminating gluten from the diet can:

  • alleviate symptoms,
  • promote intestinal healing, and
  • prevent complications associated with untreated Celiac disease.

Preventing long-term complications

Untreated Celiac disease can lead to various long-term health complications, including malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, neurological disorders, and certain types of cancer (e.g., lymphoma). Timely diagnosis and management can help mitigate these risks.

Improving quality of life

Managing Celiac disease through dietary modifications can significantly improve the quality of life for an affected individual. This is achieved by reducing symptoms, minimising the risk of associated health problems, and enhancing overall well-being.

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