Accurately diagnosing celiac disease can be quite difficult largely because the symptoms often mimic those of other diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, intestinal infections, lactose intolerance and depression.
Blood tests are the first step in a diagnosis of celiac disease. A doctor will order one or more of a series of blood tests to measure your body's response to gluten.
Currently, recommended tests include:
- Total IgA
- If IgA is deficient, it is recommended that the IgG/IgA-DGP also be ordered. At the discretion of the doctor, IgG-AGA can also be ordered.
Do not change to the gluten-free diet before being tested for celiac disease. It is important to continue eating a normal, gluten-containing diet before being tested for celiac disease. If the blood tests and symptoms indicate celiac disease, a physician will likely suggest a biopsy of the lining of the small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.
Going gluten-free before being tested can prevent diagnosis. However, people who have already adopted the gluten-free diet without having been tested for celiac disease can undergo a "gluten challenge" in order to receive accurate test results. The gluten challenge now requires eating less gluten over a shorter time frame than in years past.
Learn more about the gluten challenge here.
For more information on why celiac disease testing is strongly encouraged before adopting a gluten-free diet visit:
Best Practices in Celiac Disease Diagnosis
In May 2014, NFCA hosted the webinar, "Best Practices in Celiac Disease Diagnosis." Download this free resource from the Webinar Archive to learn more about adult and pediatric diagnosis processes from renowned celiac disease experts.
If you would like your doctor to have more information about celiac disease, share this free activity with them.