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Celiac Disease Testing

​Celiac disease is a common disorder that affects about one percent of the Canadian population. This is an autoimmune disorder, in which the
immune system reacts negatively to the presence of gluten in the diet leading to inflammation of the small intestine and damage to the intestinal wall. This reduces a person’s ability to absorb nutrients including iron, folate, calcium, Vitamin D, protein, fat and other food compounds, which are necessary for good health.

Gluten is a group of proteins present in wheat, rye and barley and their cross bred grains. The damage to the intestine can lead to a variety of symptoms, which vary greatly from person to person both in extent and seriousness.

If celiac disease is diagnosed early and treated with a gluten-free diet, the damaged tissues can heal and the risk of developing many of the
long term complications of this disease, including osteoporosis (a weakening of the bones), lymphoma (tumors arising in the lymph nodes), and
infertility can be reduced.

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Symptoms

An adult with Celiac disease can exhibit a variety of symptoms. Gastrointestinal signs and symptoms may include:


 

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In children, celiac disease symptopms may include:

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Some people with celiac disease have dermatitis herpetiformis, a type of skin rash.

Tests for Detecting Celiac Disease


Celiac disease antibody tests are developed to help diagnose and monitor the disease and a few other gluten-sensitive conditions. These tests detect autoantibodies in the blood that the body produces as part of the immune response.

LifeLabs offers a combination of two tests that measure the amount of the IgA class (immunogloblin A) and IgG class (immunoglobulin G) autoantibodies. IgG and IgA are two of five classes of antibody proteins that the immune system produces in response to a perceived threat.  IgA is the primary antibody present in gastrointestinal secretions.

Tissue transglutaminase antibody (tTG), IgA class — the primary test ordered to screen for celiac disease. It is the most sensitive and specific blood test for celiac disease and is the test recommended by the Canadian Celiac Association. This test may also be used to monitor
treatment effectiveness, as IgA antibody levels should fall once gluten is removed from the diet.

Deamidated Gliadin IgG antibodies – Around 2-3% of people with Celiac disease have an IgA deficiency, which can lead to a false negative result of the tTG, IgA test. This is when a test to measure IgG is recommended. The Deamidated Gliadin IgG antibodies test may be positive in
some people with celiac disease who are negative for anti-tTG, especially children less than 2 years old.

Your doctor may also suggest that you have a biopsy of your upper small intestine (endoscopy). He/she will also check your medical and family history, and do a physical exam, and possibly genetic tests.

When Should I Get Tested?


Celiac disease tests should be considered if you show signs and symptoms suggesting celiac disease, malnutrition, and/or malabsorption. The symptoms are often nonspecific and variable, making the disease difficult to spot. The symptoms may, for a time, be mild and go unnoticed
and then progressively worsen or occur sporadically.

Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any persistent symptom listed above. Based on several factors, including your family and medical history, your doctor can help you determine if you should be screened for Celiac disease.

One or more antibody tests may be ordered when someone with celiac disease has been on a gluten-free diet for a period of time. This is done to verify that antibody levels have decreased and to verify that the diet has been effective in reversing the intestinal lining damage.

Is Any Test Preparation Needed?


Follow your health practitioner’s instructions. For diagnosis, you should continue to eat foods that contain gluten for a time period, such as several weeks, prior to testing. For monitoring celiac disease after you have completely eliminated gluten from your diet, no preparation is necessary.

Understanding Your Results


Your results report will indicate whether the levels of autoantibodies tested are normal or elevated. Your doctor can help you interpret your results and decide on the best course of action.

Difference between Celiac Disease and Wheat Intolerance / Allergy


Often when you have food intolerances or allergies to grains like wheat or rye, the symptoms and discomfort you experience appear similar to those of Celiac disease. However, these symptoms are present for a short period of time after you consume that food, and abate soon after. The reaction may be mild or severe, but it is limited and does not cause damage to the lining of your intestine the way that celiac disease does. If you feel that you may have wheat or other grain allergy, talk to your health practitioner about getting tested for allergen-specific IgE antibodies.

Sources

How is the test performed?

The Celiac disease tests are blood tests.

How much does it cost?

The panel costs $125 in Ontario. To find out the current price in your province, please call LifeLabs customer care.

When will I get my results?

Your test results will be available to your healthcare provider within 2 weeks of sample collection.

How to Order

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