Celiac Disease Testing

Celiac disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy), sometimes referred to as sprue or coeliac, is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction damages your small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption). The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications.  In children, malabsorption can affect growth and development, in addition to the symptoms seen in adults.

The signs and symptoms of celiac disease can vary and are different in children and adults. More than half of adults with celiac disease have signs and symptoms that are not related to the digestive system, including:

Anemia, usually resulting from iron deficiency

  • Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) or softening of bone (osteomalacia)
  • Itchy, blistery skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
  • Damage to dental enamel
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Nervous system injury, including numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, possible problems with balance, and cognitive impairment
  • Joint pain
  • Reduced functioning of the spleen (hyposplenism)
  • Acid reflux and heartburn
celiac testing wheat

In children, typical signs and symptoms of celiac disease include: vomiting, chronic diarrhea, swollen belly, failure to thrive, poor appetite, muscle wasting, constipation, irritability, and delayed puberty.

A simple blood test will measure the levels of certain antibodies that are found in above normal levels in patients who have celiac disease.