celiac disease diagnosis test
Tests & Procedures

Tests to Diagnose Celiac Disease – Preparation, Procedures, Results

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease refers to a digestive and autoimmune disease. The autoimmune disease normally involves the immune system directing antibodies to attack the body system. The Celiac disorder has an antibody which usually attacks the gluten, this protein is mainly found grains.

The disease usually manifests itself through symptoms and which differ from one individual to another such as, having digestive problems, being affected by anemia, having skin rashes, and being affected by joints and bones pain. If an individual is suffering from the ailment, they should not take meals that contain gluten content. Such foods which should be avoided by such patients include wheat, rye, barley, and oats.

Celiac disease is also referred medically to as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy. The disease mainly is a digestive and autoimmune ailment. The ailment tends to make the immune system direct antibodies which are elements made by the immune system in the body systems of individuals for the purpose of fighting pathogens which invade the body system. Celiac disease has antibodies too which are made to work against the gluten, this is a protein contained in grains.

Naturally, the body system immune system is made in a way purposely for the protection from external pathogens such as bacteria. Individuals who are affected by this disease and get to eat meals that have gluten in them, antibodies to gluten are formed by the immune system.

These antibodies then start to attack the walls of the intestine. The attack on the linings of the intestines causes them to swell in turn, it causes the destruction of the villi, these are structures found on the walls of the small intestine and look like hair strands. Their main function is to absorb nutrients from food an individual eats and is digested which is then absorbed by the villi; the destruction of the villi, this makes it difficult for an individual to absorb nutrients from the meals they eat and they tend to become starved, despite their efforts to eat well and as much as possible.

The Main and Known Symptoms of The Celiac Disease

  • Suffering from digestive problems such as having abdominal gas accumulation, having stomach pains, stomach gas diarrhea, passing pale feces, and suffering from excess weight loss.
  • Being affected by a kind of severe skin rash referred to as dermatitis herpetiformis.
  • Suffering from Anemia or having low blood count.
  • Being affected by common musculoskeletal complications such as having muscle pains, having joint and bone pain.
  • The condition is associated with growth issues and lack of survival, especially in children.
  • An individual may be affected by seizures.
  • One gets subjected to a random tingling feeling mostly in their legs which is due to nerve damage and have low calcium levels in their bodies.
  • A person may suffer from Aphthous ulcers or sores in their mouth activity which interferes with their breath.
  • For women, they tend to suffer from frequent missed menstrual periods.

Tests to Diagnose Celiac Disease

From studies carried out by researchers on this disease, it is estimated that only 20 percent of patients living with celiac disease may get a diagnosis. Two types of blood tests are usually ordered by the doctors to assist in the diagnoses of the celiac disease.

Serology Test

This is usually for examining l for antibodies found in an individual’s blood system. High levels of some antibody proteins show an immune response to gluten. This test has been found to highly useful when it comes to the diagnoses of the celiac disorder especially for the populations which are at high risk to suffer from it. These populations may include, the first- and second-degree kins of individuals who suffer from the disease. Others include people who are affected by diabetes especially of the type 1 diabetes mellitus and those who suffer from autoimmune complications such as the endocrinopathies and those with atypical signs.

Genetic Test

A genetic test is for examining the human leukocyte antigens or HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. The test tool can be for examination in order to rule out celiac disease.

From the examinations for the disease and the results show the presence of celiac disease, a patient’s doctor can order for an endoscopy. This assists in viewing a person’s small intestine and to get a small tissue sample. The biopsy taken is to help the doctor in the analyzation for any damages to the villi found in the small intestines.

Preparation for A Test to Diagnose Celiac Disease

If an individual has been advised by their doctor to start eating food that does not contain any gluten, they can also be given a gluten challenge to follow. This usually happens before an individual goes for the celiac disease diagnoses. They are advised to strictly eat about four slices of bread daily for a period of about eight weeks.

An individual should not take any meal that has gluten content. Gluten in the diet taken may lead to abnormal results or completely change the results from the blood test done and make them look normal

Procedure for Tests to Diagnose Celiac Disease

An individual’s doctor may from observation see that their patient is suffering from celiac disease. They then carry out a keen physical examination and can also discuss the patient’s medical history with them. They may also ask the patient to allow them to carry out a blood test to determine the levels of antibodies compared to their gluten. When the disease is present in their bloodstreams, People suffering from celiac disease have higher levels of some specific antibodies in their blood system.

The doctor may do additional tests to examine other nutritional issues, for example as a blood test to examine the amount of iron the patient; low amounts of iron, which mostly can lead to anemia can accompany celiac disease. A feces sample may be examined to diagnose the presence of fat in the feces, fat is mostly prevented from being absorbed into the body system from the food eaten if a person suffers from the celiac disorder.

A small sample may be collected by the doctor in order to assist them in examining for the destruction of the villi found in the small intestines. During this biopsy, the doctor uses an endoscope. The endoscope is a thin tube which is hollow. They then insert the endoscope through the patient’s mouth into the small intestines. This way they are able to take a sample of the small intestine with the aid of an instrument.

Results and Interpretations for Celiac Disease Test

A negative result may be arrived at from the tests during a particular blood diagnosis. This does not guarantee that the individual in their lifetime will never develop the disease in the future. It may only be dormant at the moment.

Often the blood tests for the diagnoses of celiac disease are equally accurate. For some persons, the results may turn out to be false-negative or false-positive.

For a false-negative blood test result, there is a delay in the diagnosis of the celiac ailment. If these patients are left untreated, they become are at a risk of having some possibly severe health issues, these issues may include having osteoporosis, being affected by infertility, suffering from miscarriages, having lymphoma, and possibly having other autoimmune disorders.

If the test turns out to be positive the patient should go for an endoscopic small intestinal biopsy to confirm the test results as shortly as possible.

Home self-testing kit for celiac disease can be bought over-the-counter. A tiny blood sample is used which is obtained by an individual piercing their fingertip. It enables to diagnose the availability or presence of the tTG antibodies which exist in the blood of individuals suffering from with celiac disorder. In the red blood cells, the endogenous tTG is disseminated by hemolysis and builds combinations with tTG-specific IgA-class antibodies.

Celiac disease biopsy involves the doctor or medical examiner during the tests to diagnose celiac disease to taking a tiny sample of the intestines tissue to assist them in detecting either the presence or absence of this disorder in their patient. Basically, this is the procedure used to examine the presence of celiac disease in an individual by their doctor.


The disease is a common disorder that mainly affects one percent of the general population. It affects the small intestinal mucosa by the autoimmune mechanism especially to individuals who are at a high risk of suffering from it.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad