Celiac Disease Screening

Celiac Disease Screening

Celiac Disease screening is a laboratory test used to determine if a patient has an increased probability of having Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition that is caused by an abnormal immune reaction to gluten found in wheat, rye and barley.

Preparation for Celiac Disease Screening

Patients are usually advised to refrain from gluten for 2-3 weeks prior to undergoing testing. During this time, they should switch to a gluten-free diet or avoid foods that contain gluten. This allows for a better reflection of the antibody levels in the bloodstream.

Procedure for Celiac Disease Screening

The most common tests used to detect Celiac Disease are the tTG-IgA test and the endomysial antibody test. Both of these tests involve taking a small sample of blood from the patient and analyzing it for the presence of specific antibodies that indicate an abnormally high immunological response to gluten. If any of these antibodies are present, the patient is said to have a positive test result for Celiac Disease.

Types of Celiac Disease Screening Tests

  • tTG-IgA test: This is the most commonly used test for Celiac Disease screening and is considered the gold standard. The test measures the levels of an antibody called “tissue transglutaminase”, or tTG, in the bloodstream.
  • Endomysial antibody test: This test measures the levels of antibodies that are specific to Celiac Disease. The presence of these antibodies can indicate an increased risk for Celiac Disease.
  • Anti-gliadin antibody test: This test looks for antibodies associated with gluten sensitivity. It is commonly used to rule-out Celiac Disease.
  • Genetic testing: This test looks for changes in specific genes that are associated with an increased risk for Celiac Disease. It is used to confirm positive results from other screening tests.

Risks Associated with Celiac Disease Screening

Celiac Disease screening is generally safe. However, patients should always be sure to inform their doctor of any existing health conditions or allergies so that the doctor can select the appropriate test. Additionally, it is important to note that the results of these tests can occasionally be false-positive, meaning the test may indicate the presence of Celiac Disease when in fact the patient does not have the condition.

Why Is Celiac Disease Screening Important?

Celiac Disease can cause a wide range of symptoms that can prevent a person from living a normal life. These can include digestive problems, fatigue, anemia, weight loss, and even infertility. Therefore, screening for Celiac Disease is important in order to diagnose the condition early, and to start treatment to reduce the risk of long-term complications.

When Should Celiac Disease Screening Be Performed?

Celiac Disease screening is typically recommended for people who have a family history of the condition and for those who have some of the common symptoms, such as digestive disturbances or fatigue. However, the American College of Gastroenterology recommends that screening be performed in all individuals who are considered to be at a higher risk for Celiac Disease. This includes those of European descent, those with diabetes, thyroid disease, or other autoimmune conditions, and those who have experienced a sudden onset of anemia or nutrient deficiencies.