Research shows that one out of every 100 people in the world suffers from celiac disease. In the United States alone, experts estimate that 2.5 million people are genetically predisposed to the condition but have not taken steps to identify or treat it.
In recent years, the disease has gained widespread attention, but the reality is that many of us could suffer from its symptoms without tracing them back to their real origin.
This is where a celiac blood test can make a world of difference.
We offer several different kinds of tests designed to help you discern your risk factor for the condition. Today, we’re taking a closer look at these tests and how each one works.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.
What is Celiac Disease?
You might have heard of the gluten-free diet craze sweeping the nation. However, for those suffering from celiac disease, the decision to abstain from consuming gluten is far more serious than a weight-loss technique. In fact, the recent focus on eliminating the substance has even had negative effects on those who absolutely must remove it from their diet to stay healthy.
In short, celiac disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by an inability to digest gluten.
In predisposed people, the presence of gluten causes their bodies to naturally catalyze an immune response that attacks their intestine. In turn, they develop small fingerlike projections, known as villi, on their intestinal lining. When this lining becomes compromised, it disrupts nutrient absorption.
As a result, people who suffer from celiac disease can experience any or all of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal cramping and bloating
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Unexplained weight loss
- Dental enamel weakening or defects
- Iron deficiency anemia not cured by iron supplements
- Bone or joint pain
- Fatigue or weakness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mouth ulcers
Do any of the above signs or symptoms sound familiar to you? If so, a blood test can help you discern whether or not these conditions are linked to celiac disease.
Different Celiac Blood Test Options
There are a few different kinds of blood tests that have biomarkers designed to identify conditions linked to celiac disease. When you order lab tests online from us, you can expedite and simplify the process.
Doctors can use an Anti-tissue Transglutaminase (anti-tTG) antibodies, IgA test to diagnose celiac disease. In addition, this blood test can also help doctors perform health checks on patients currently treating the condition.
Tissue transglutaminase is a key enzyme that helps repair damage in your body. People with celiac disease make antibodies that attack this enzyme, aptly named anti-tissue transglutaminase (anti-tTG) antibodies. If your blood test reveals a level of anti-tTG antibodies that is higher than normal, it can be a potential indicator of celiac disease.
A Quantitative Immunoglobulin A (IgA) test helps evaluate a patient’s immune system. Immunoglobulins, or antibodies, play a critical role in this system.
Produced by your plasma cells in response to viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms, your body also creates immunoglobulins at other times. In particular, it produces them when it suspects exposures to a substance that it recognizes as a “non-self” or harmful antigen.
There are multiple kinds of antibodies, including Immunoglobulin A (IgA), M (IgM), G (IgG), D (IgD) and E (IgE). Celiac disease is most closely linked with IgA. Comprising around 15% of your blood’s total immunoglobulin count, IgA antibodies are present throughout your body. You’ll find them in areas including your ears, eyes, saliva, nose, breathing passages and digestive tract.
Celiac disease can lower your immunoglobulin A counts significantly. In fact, an immunoglobulin A deficiency is 10 to 15 times more common in patients with the condition, compared to healthy subjects. If this test comes back low, it could indicate celiac disease.
Gliadin is one of the primary proteins in gluten. If you suffer from celiac disease, your body responds to gluten in an abnormal way. In response, your DMG antibody levels become higher than normal.
The Anti-Endomysial Antibodies (EMA), IgA test is highly specific for evaluating and monitoring celiac disease. This is another type of antibody that your boy creates in response to gluten.
If a blood test reveals that your EMA count is higher than average, this is a near-definite indicator of the condition.
The term reticulin describes the connective tissues found in many different organs within your body. People with celiac disease will exhibit higher-than-average levels of antibodies designed to work against this collagen-containing tissue, known as anti-reticulin antibodies.
If your Anti-Reticulin Antibodies (ARA), IgA blood test reveals a high ARA antibody count, this could indicate the presence of celiac disease.
6. Anti-Actin IgA (F-actin)
Actin filaments are thin and flexible fibers present in cells throughout your body. In your muscle cells, actin filaments combine into organized arrays with a set of thicker filaments, created from another protein called myosin. When these two proteins work in tandem, they create a force that catalyzes muscle contraction. People who suffer from celiac disease will produce antibodies that work against this function, leading to full or partial intestinal atrophy. An Anti-Actin IgA Test identifies the levels of these antibodies.
Used to monitor and screen a variety of health conditions, a Complete Blood Count (CBC) test can help identify irregularities in the blood of people with celiac disease. Specifically, a CBC test will measure your red blood cell count.
One of the most prevalent symptoms linked with celiac disease is iron-deficiency anemia. This is because the condition can cause damage to your small intestine, where nutrients such as folate, iron and vitamin B12 are absorbed. If your CBC test reveals a low red blood cell count, further testing can help pinpoint the exact cause behind this decline.
In a similar vein, an Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) Test also monitors your red blood cells. Instead of their count, however, an ESR Test measures how quickly the cells sink to the bottom of a test tube that contains your blood sample.
In samples from people without celiac disease, the cells will sink at a relatively slow rate. When the condition is present, however, the cells will settle faster than normal. This can signify the presence of inflammation in your body. This inflammation could be linked to celiac disease, which triggers an inappropriate immune system response that inflames your muscles and organs.
Like the ESR Test, a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) Test will also check for inflammation in your body. Your liver produces CRP and then sends it to your bloodstream as an inflammatory defense. Most people have low levels of inflammation and thus low CRP counts. However, someone with celiac disease will exhibit elevated levels of both.
Inflammation is your body’s natural defense mechanism. It helps protect your tissues in the case of injury or infection. Some autoimmune disorders and chronic diseases, including celiac disease, will also trigger inflammation.
Doctors rely on a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP) to identify a range of conditions. In the case of celiac disease, a CMP Test can help measure protein, calcium and electrolyte levels in your body. It can also help verify the condition of your liver and kidney.
11. Vitamin D
People suffering from celiac disease are at a greater risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. Specifically, 64% of men and 71% of women with the condition are deficient in this critical antioxidant.
In this case, the issue is linked to both malabsorption and inadequate dietary intake.
Many gluten-containing grain products are often fortified with extra vitamins and minerals, whereas gluten-free products normally aren’t. In addition, those with celiac disease might have a harder time absorbing vitamin D from the foods they do consume. A Vitamin D test can confirm these levels.
12. Vitamin B12
Your small intestine is a valuable organ. One of its many duties is absorbing vitamin B12, the nutrient linked to healthy nerve and blood cells, as well as DNA formation.
People with celiac disease are often deficient in vitamin B12. They are unable to absorb adequate levels of the nutrient because of the damage that the disease causes to their small intestine. A Vitamin B12 blood test can help determine if these levels are too low.
Like Vitamin D, folate is another nutrient that someone with celiac disease might have a difficult time absorbing. This is because, again, the small intestine is responsible for absorbing folate, along with iron and vitamin B12.
Note that someone with early-stage celiac disease might experience malabsorption issues centered mostly on iron and folate. These two nutrients are absorbed in the upper two parts of the small intestine (the proximal section), where the condition first strikes. As the disease progresses, the malabsorption focus will move downward toward the lower part of the small intestine, where vitamin B12 is produced.
The Iron, Total and Total Iron Binding Capacity test measures how well iron moves throughout your body. Monitoring this movement is critical because iron is key to the production of hemoglobin.
This is the protein in your red blood cells responsible for transporting oxygen throughout your body. Thus, low iron levels can lead to low hemoglobin levels, which is a condition known as iron deficiency anemia. If you’re unable to absorb an adequate amount of iron in your small intestine due to celiac disease, your entire circulatory system could suffer.
This test will help ensure that iron is moving in the correct quantities and at the right capacity.
Ferritin is an iron-containing blood cell protein. A Ferritin Test will reveal how much iron your body is currently storing and how much it’s capable of storing. If your stores are low, it indicates that you aren’t absorbing and retaining the nutrient as you should.
Gluten intolerance is linked to low ferritin levels. This blood test is an accurate way to see where yours measure up. The levels will be most severe in those with celiac disease.
16. Stool Fat
Those suffering from celiac disease are no stranger to chronic and often painful diarrhea. Characterized by watery or semi-formed stools, this symptom occurs when patients are unable to digest or absorb certain key nutrients.
One of these is ingested fat, known as steatorrhea. If your body cannot absorb adequate levels of steatorrhea, it will eliminate into your stool. A Stool Fat Test measure how much excessive dietary fat is present in your stool.
Order a Celiac Blood Test Online Today
With an inventory that includes more than 1,000 blood tests, we can help you take a comprehensive look at your overall health. When you’re seeking answers about a particular condition, such as celiac disease, these tests make it easier to discover the knowledge you need.
Our easy ordering system makes it a cinch to order a celiac blood test today. You’ll order your tests, visit an approved patient service center to complete your lab test or panel, and review your results via a secure portal in a matter of days. There’s no reason to hesitate, especially when your health is at stake.
When you order through us, you can skip past the doctor’s waiting room. You’ll also ensure your personal information remains confidential the entire time. With your results in hand, you can follow-up with your healthcare provider to have a more direct, informed conversation about your next steps.