Celiac Disease Test
Do wheat bread and the occasional cookie give you indigestion? If so, a celiac disease test may be ordered by your physician.
That's because celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, triggers symptoms like indigestion, bloating, constipation, and gas, as well as fatigue and more severe symptoms. When you tell your doctor that you experience these symptoms every time you eat wheat-based foods, he or she will probably want to find out if you have gluten intolerance, or celiac disease.
First, your doctor will probably order a complete blood count, which is the initial celiac disease test. This blood test is also known as a gluten intolerance test. It is designed to detect anemia, low cholesterol, a high liver enzyme count, and raised alkaline phosphatase levels.
The next celiac disease test your doctor may recommend will likely be an upper endoscopy. During this procedure, a physician makes a tiny incision in your abdomen through which a tube can be inserted. Then, the physician can insert a small camera so he or she can examine your small intestine. A tiny piece of your small intestine will also be removed. This sample will be analyzed in lab in a more definitive celiac disease test.
In the lab, technicians will be looking at the sample for flattened villi (tiny projections). Flat villi on your sample may lead your doctor to conclude that you are gluten intolerant.
Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are believed to be an inherited conditions. People with these genetic conditions can't tolerate products with gluten, the storage protein found mainly in wheat. Because the American diet contains many wheat-based staples, such as bread and cereal, you have probably consumed a significant amount of gluten over time. So, if you are gluten intolerant, the gluten you have eaten has worked to flatten the villi in your small intestine. Eventually, the villi can no longer absorb nutrients, causing symptoms to occur.
To address your symptoms, your physician may suggest a gluten-free diet. This consists of substituting wheat-based foods with foods made from gluten-free recipes. These recipes are made with alternatives to wheat flour, such as corn flour or rice flour.
So, if your symptoms suggest you are gluten intolerant, don't hesitate to contact your doctor soon about a celiac disease test.