Wednesday, January 13, 2010

NY Times Article: "Confirming a Diagnosis of Celiac Disease"

There was a great article in the New York Times yesterday, Confirming a Diagnosis of Celiac Disease, which talks about making sure you really have Celiac Disease before committing to a life-long gluten-free diet! I thought this would be helpful for those wondering if they truly have CD, and what tests to get while trying to figure it out!

Dr. Sheila Crowe discussed the various blood tests that should be done- prior to having an intestinal biopsy- although, for me, that IS how it was found (because they were testing for an Ulcer! I was lucky enough for them to find CD, because it wasn't even on their radar!)

Dr. Crowe said,
"Since getting an intestinal biopsy is not necessarily the first test anyone wants to undergo, it is fortunate that several blood tests are helpful during the initial steps of diagnosing celiac disease. These blood tests measure antibodies – usually IgA or IgG – that are made by immune cells to two main proteins.
One protein is an enzyme called tissue transglutaminase, or TTG, that is found in many cells of our body. TTG is released from the damaged intestine during active celiac disease, and antibodies to TTG are found to be elevated in the blood of most patients with untreated celiac disease.
The other protein to which the body’s immune system responds to abnormally in someone with active celiac disease (and occasionally in some other disorders) is a group of proteins found in gluten called gliadins.


She goes on to say "even the best antibody tests have some inaccuracies, including a false negative rate. Because of this, I would like to emphasize that if an individual patient’s case points to celiac disease, even if all antibody tests are negative, then the next step should be to undergo an upper G.I. endoscopy to obtain small intestinal biopsy samples. this test is also referred to as an esophagogastroduodenoscopy, or EGD. "

For the whole article (and lots more information on testing) please visit: http://consults.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/confirming-a-diagnosis-of-celiac-disease/

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