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Celiac Disease Antibody Screening Test

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About Our Celiac Disease Antibody Screening Test

This blood test is used to determine the presence of certain antibodies associated with Celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes your immune system to attack your small intestine when you eat gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and many other grains. It is found in many foods, including breads, pastas, cereals, and certain soups and sauces. It’s also used in certain products, like cosmetics, medications, vitamins, and supplements. 


Celiac disease is characterized  by the presence of Transglutaminase, Gliadin, and Reticulin Antibodies. This blood test looks for:

  • Tissue Transglutaminase (tTG) Antibodies (IgG, IgA)
  • Gliadin (Deamidated Peptide) Antibody (IgG, IgA)
  • IgA (Immunoglobulin A)—Having an IgA deficiency can cause false-negative results, meaning a person has celiac disease but tests negative for celiac disease antibodies. This test measures IgA antibodies to ensure you produce enough IgA for celiac disease antibody testing to be accurate.

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease, sometimes called celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is a serious condition that can develop at any age. When somebody with celiac disease eats food containing gluten, their body’s immune response damages the villi, projecting tissue folds in the intestinal wall that maximize the body’s absorption of nutrients. When the villi are damaged or destroyed, it reduces the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals you need. Malabsorption and malnutrition can cause your body to not function properly.

Left undiagnosed and untreated, celiac disease can lead to the development of health problems, such as other autoimmune disorders, anemia (low amounts of healthy blood cells), osteoporosis (bone thinning), dental issues, missed periods and fertility problems (including miscarriage), lactose intolerance, neurological conditions, and in rare cases cancer. 

Signs of Celiac Disease

Common symptoms of celiac disease include:

  • Constipation
  • Bloating or gas
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Migraine
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Reduced bone mass and bone fractures
  • Weight loss
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Missed periods
  • Infertility or recurring miscarriage
  • Liver disease
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis, an itchy skin rash
  • Mouth sores
  • Delayed growth or puberty in younger people

Celiac disease affects everyone differently. One person can present with chronic diarrhea and abdominal pain, while another person can present with tiredness and irritability. Digestive symptoms are more common in infants and children. Adults are less likely to have digestive symptoms, with only one-third experiencing diarrhea, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. 

Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms at all. Whether they have symptoms or not, people with celiac disease are at risk for long-term complications.  

Why Celiac Disease Testing Is Important

Celiac disease is common (affecting about 1 in 133 people), but many people go undiagnosed. Because celiac disease can cause a wide variety of symptoms, it can sometimes be difficult to identify. People who have celiac disease can suffer from unexplained issues for years before being diagnosed. Antibody testing for celiac disease can lead to earlier diagnosis. Early diagnosis and sticking to a gluten-free diet can prevent new damage to the small intestine, the development of other autoimmune disorders, and other complications. 

When to Consider Getting Tested

Testing may be ordered if you:

  • Have symptoms of celiac disease
  • Have a close relative with celiac disease, like a parent, sibling, or child 
  • Have other autoimmune diseases, like insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease, and Sjorgen’s disease
  • Have Down syndrome, Turner syndrome, or Williams syndrome  

What Does a Positive Test Result Mean?

A negative result indicates antibodies are not elevated. A positive antibody result is suggestive of celiac disease, because almost everyone with celiac disease has antibodies in their blood at higher-than-normal levels. A positive result can indicate further testing by intestinal biopsy is needed to confirm diagnosis. 

It’s important to note that the antibody is undetectable when a person is on a gluten-free diet. If you’re not eating foods that contain gluten, the test can come back negative, even if you do have celiac disease. 

Sources

  1. “What is Celiac Disease?” Celiac Disease Foundation. https://celiac.org/about-celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/
  2. “Symptoms.” The University of Chicago Medicine: Celiac Disease Center. http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/wp-content/uploads/341_CDCFactSheets2_Symptoms.pdf 
  3. “Celiac Disease Facts and Figures.” The University of Chicago Medicine: Celiac Disease Center. https://www.cureceliacdisease.org/wp-content/uploads/341_CDCFactSheets8_FactsFigures.pdf
  4. “Celiac Disease Screening.” MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/celiac-disease-screening/


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