How is celiac disease diagnosed?
If your doctor thinks you have celiac disease, a blood test will be ordered for you. People with celiac disease have higher levels of certain antibodies (anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA) or anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA)). It is extremely important to note that before your test, you should continue eating foods with gluten. If you discontinue your consumption of gluten foods, you may have celiac disease and not know it. Antibody levels decrease when gluten is removed from a person’s regular diet.
After the first initial blood test, your doctor may also order additional blood tests if you have a positive result from the first blood test. These other tests will help determine how much damage has been done to your body overall. They include:
- Complete blood count to look for anemia
- C-Reactive protein (CRP) test to see how severe the inflammation is
- Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) to determine the status of kidney & liver function, and electrolyte and fluid balance
- Vitamin D, E, and B12 levels to see if the levels have dipped for deficiency
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) indirectly measures how much inflammation is in the body.
If the initial blood test suggests that celiac disease may be present, a biopsy of the small intestine is needed (performed through endoscopy). The endoscopy consists of feeding a small thin tube through your mouth into your small intestine; so that your doctor and a pathologist can get a few samples to confirm celiac disease.