Yes! There are two pre-screening blood tests that medical care providers order in British Columbia* that can determine whether your body makes the antibodies that are associated with celiac disease.
- tTg: IgA anti-transglutaminase antibody test
- Total Serum IgA
While these blood tests are very sensitive, they are not 100% reliable. If the tTg test is positive or the IgA test shows a deficiency, a duodenal biopsy is suggested. Collected under mild sedation, evidence of damage to the lining of the small intestine offers a definitive diagnosis of celiac disease – or can rule it out entirely.
*Blood tests and intestinal biopsies are diagnostic services that are provided at no charge to residents of British Columbia. See Medical Services Plan.
Ask to be tested if you have
- unexplained iron deficiency
- brittle type 1 DM
- a family history of Celiac disease
- have experienced 3 months of frequent diarrhea, weight loss, dairy intolerance or exceptional gas and bloating.
If my blood test is negative, does it mean I will never develop celiac disease?
No! If you are a 1st or 2nd degree relative of a person diagnosed with celiac disease, you should be blood tested every 3 – 5 years. If you have digestive or other symptoms associated with celiac disease, you should be tested more often.
Can I view my test results online?
Yes! My e-Health offers a fast and secure method for patients to receive their results electronically. As soon as results are released from the performing lab, they’re available online in my ehealth. Excelleris uses a variety of secure technologies and procedures to help protect your information from unauthorized access, use or disclosure. My ehealth is a free service and is available in 4 languages.
What symptoms are associated with celiac disease?
• abdominal pain, bloating and gas
• bone and/or joint pain
• canker sores
• chronic fatigue and weakness
• diarrhea, constipation or both
• easy bruising of the skin
• elevated liver enzymes
• indigestion/reflux (heartburn)
• infertility (in both women and men
• iron, folate and/or vitamin B12 deficiency
• lactose intolerance
• menstrual irregularities
• migraine headaches
• nausea and vomiting
• other vitamin and mineral deficiencies
• recurrent miscarriages
• swelling of hands and feet
• unexplained iron deficiency
• weight loss, although 30% of celiacs are above their ideal weight at the time of diagnosis
Additional symptoms in children:
• concentration and learning difficulties
• delayed puberty
• dental enamel abnormalities
• failure to thrive (delayed growth and short stature)
• irritability and behavioural changes
Because CD is a genetically-mediated disease that can be passed on from one generation to the next, it is important that when one person is diagnosed, that 1st degree (parents, children, siblings) and 2nd degree relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and grandchildren) should ask their doctors for the pre-screening blood test that detects the antibodies that are associated with CD.
For additional information from a Vancouver Island vantage point, visit About Celiac Disease