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How is Celiac diagnosed? PDF Print E-mail

A person seeking preliminary diagnosis must be consuming gluten. Specific antibody blood tests are
used to identify the possibility of celiac disease and are the initial step in screening individuals who are
at risk (first-degree relatives of biopsy diagnosed celiacs). Certain antibodies are produced by the
immune system in response to substances that the body perceived to be threatening, i.e. gluten.

Research shows that people with CD have higher than normal levels of these antibodies in their
blood. It is recommended that patients with positive antibody tests have a small-bowel biopsy to confirm
the diagnosis and assess the degree of mucosal damage. If you have been gluten-free for some time before the blood test and small-bowel biopsy, the chance is good the test results could come back negative.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH), a complication of celiac disease which manifests in the form of a skin rash, is diagnosed by a biopsy of a skin lesion and staining for IgA in the tissues. More than 85% of DH patients have small-bowel sensitivity to gluten. An experienced CD/DH pathologist is essential to establish these diagnoses. The diagnosed celiac should have medical follow-up to monitor the clinical response to the gluten-free diet.
 

Some content provided by: Kids with Celiac Disease: A Family Survival Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy,
Gluten-Free Children
, Danna Korn,,Woodbine House, 2001