Who Should Be Tested For Celiac?
- First-degree relatives (parents, siblings, children) of people with Celiac disease
- You have low iron or unexplained anemia
- Individuals with type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, Down syndrome, Williams sydromesTurner syndrome and IgA deficiency
- Recurrent, unexplained abdominal pain
You must be on a gluten containing diet for testing to be accurate
The group of blood tests needed is called the "Celiac Panel". Think of it as a screening test, rather than a definitive answer. Although positive bloodwork suggests that Celiac disease may be present, it is not absolute. An intestinal biopsy is needed for confirmation.
- Total IGA
- IgG/IgA-DGP (if IgA deficient)
If you do carry the gene, there is a chance you have or could develop Celiac. Not a firm answer, but it does encourage observation and further testing. You should have the blood panel every 2-3 years or right away if symptoms appear.
Negative result? This means the gene isn't present. In other words, you have zero possibility of developing the disease.
Upon diagnosis, you will need to eliminate all sources of wheat, rye, and barley from your life. This means a thorough overhaul of your kitchen. Eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination is essential - you will need a separate toaster/toaster oven, your own condiment jars (no double dipping!) and a dedicated space to store your gluten-free food. Though it seems like a lot of work, vigilance will prevent unwanted gluten crumbs from invading your diet.
It's a good idea to schedule a regular follow up with your physician to monitor your progress and watch for nutritional deficiencies. Some find joining support groups helpful, especially at the beginning of this dietary shakeup. It's important not to get caught up with what you can't eat. Focus on what you can. Labeling laws have come a long way and gluten-free grocery shopping has never been easier.