Celiac Disease Health Center
Table of Contents
Due to similarities between the symptoms of celiac disease and those of other diseases, it can be difficult to diagnose. As reliable blood tests become more available and doctors become more aware of the varied symptoms of the disease, diagnosis rates are increasing.
Blood tests are used to test for for abnormally high levels of certain autoantibodies - proteins that react against the body's own cells or tissues. Doctors test for high levels of anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA) or anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA). Before the blood test, you should continue to eat foods containing gluten. If you stop eating gluten before being tested, the test may read negative when celiac disease is actually present.
If the blood test and the symptoms indicate the possibility of celiac disease, then a biopsy of the small intestine will be done to confirm the diagnosis. The doctor will remove small pieces of the small intestine to check the health of the villi. An endoscope - a long thin tube- is slid through the patient's mouth, through the stomach, and into the small intestine to obtain the sample.