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Diagnosing Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease can arise at any age creating damage to your intestines and starving your body of critical nutrients. With a range of symptoms commonly associated with other conditions, knowing if you are celiac, or simply have a gluten allergy or intolerance, is key to ensuring you’re on the right path to health.

How is the test performed?

Blood sample

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Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by eating grains that contain gluten such as wheat, rye and barley.

Over time, this autoimmune response to a perceived threat can cause irreversible damage to the small intestine and prevent your body from absorbing nutrients critical for good health. About 1% of Canadians have celiac disease and it can appear at any age. While symptoms can vary greatly, in adults common symptoms include abdominal pain, flatulence and diarrhea. In children, they often have diarrhea and abnormal stretching of the abdomen, but may also show signs of malnutrition, anemia and failure to thrive. If celiac disease is diagnosed and treated early, the damaged tissues can heal, and you can reduce the risk of developing long-term complications.

Celiac symptoms and food intolerance or allergies can appear to be similar, but allergies and intolerances do not damage the lining of the intestine. It’s important to determine the causes of your symptoms so that you have the right care plan developed.

If a person has celiac disease, their body produces two antibody proteins, immunoglobin A (IgA) and immunioglobulin G (IgG), in response to a perceived threat, in this case gluten.

LifeLabs offers a combination of two tests to measure the amount of these proteins in the blood:
  •  Anti TTG IgA
  • Anti Deamidated Gliadin IgG

While IgA is the primary antibody produced in individuals with celiac, some people have an IgA deficiency which produces a false negative. This is why our bundle of celiac tests includes a second test to detect the antibody IgG.

Additional information can be found in our Celiac Test brochure here.

You can be tested for celiac disease at any age. The symptoms are often nonspecific and variable, making the disease difficult to spot. You should speak with your doctor if you have a family history of celiac disease, or if you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms commonly associated with celiac disease including:

  • abdominal pain and bloating
  • chronic diarrhea
  • weight loss
  • extreme fatigue
  • flatulence
  • unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
  • joint pain

You can order the test here. 

A physician may recommend a celiac blood test if you:

  • are exhibiting symptoms common associated with celiac disease
  • have a medical history that suggests celiac disease is a possibility
  • have a family history of celiac disease
  • have already been diagnosed with celiac and physician wants to monitor your IgA and IgG levels after gluten has been removed from your diet

A physician may also order a test if you have a condition that is known to be associated with celiac disease including:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Down syndrome
  • Thyroiditis
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Neuropathy

Testing is completed by LifeLabs at a Patient Service Centre or via our mobile lab service (available in select cities) through a simple blood sample. You will require a completed test requisition from your healthcare provider.

You can order the test here.

Test results will be provided directly to your healthcare provider for discussion with you. The report will indicate:

  • Whether IgA protein is present in your blood and the levels
  • Whether IgG protein is present in your blood and the levels

If your test results show the presence of either the IgA or IgG proteins, your healthcare provider may suggest additional testing before developing a treatment plan.

We offer a combination of two tests that measure the amount of the IgA class (immunoglobulin 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.

These tests may be carried out in additional to an endoscopy.  Learn more

 

Celiac Disease Testing

Order form

Samples for celiac testing may be taken at any of our Patient Service Centres. Patients must have the requisition form above completed by a physician or healthcare provider.

The cost of the celiac test is: $125

The celiac test bundle (anti TTG IgA and anti Deamidated Gliadin IgG) is currently an uninsured test.  

Payment may be made by the patient when the blood sample is taken at one of our Patient Service Centres. For convenience, Visa, Mastercard and Debit Cards are excepted.

Patient are encouraged to check with their private health care provider to see if coverage is provided.

Results will be available to you within two weeks.

We have a wealth of medical experts available to support you in interpreting test results.
Consults with our experts are available upon request. Request medical consultation.

Request more information

The combination Celiac test, anti TTG IgA and anti Deamidated Gliadin IgG, may be scheduled directly by the patient at any of our Patient Service Centres offering this service. They must have a requisition form completed by a physician or healthcare provider.

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