This video features Dr. John Snyder, a former Chief of the Gastroenterology Department at Children’s Medical Center in Washington DC. While he does discuss some specifics about testing for celiac disease in children, this video is a good resource for anyone wanting to learn more about testing for celiac disease.
In this video Dr. Snyder discusses specific blood tests that are often the first form of testing that is done and why these tests are commonly used. The discussion includes instances of false positives and false negative as as well as how to verify if the results indicate a true case of celiac disease.
False positives are most common in patients with diabetes, so it is important to do other tests to confirm the diagnosis. However some levels of antibodies are so high that in most cases it indicates a case of celiac disease.
Testing for celiac disease is complicated. On this note he discusses the importance of having the proper tests. It is necessary to test for both IgA antibody levels as well as tTg or anti endomysial antibodies. To get a proper diagnosis it is important to know whether or not your body makes the IgA antibodies so your doctor can better understand the results of the tests. Children under 2 don’t always have the same antibody levels so the testing and diagnosis is sometimes handled differently in children under 2 years of age.
If blood tests come back positive for celiac disease the next step is typically an endoscopy or biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Once CD is confirmed it is vital to start a gluten-free diet. Most people will start to notice a difference pretty quickly after going gluten-free, however some people may take longer to respond. After following a gluten-free diet the antibody levels should fall to normal and the villi in the intestine will start to heal.
Getting tested once isn’t enough though. Retesting is important so your doctor can tell if the antibodies are at normal levels. Gluten can easily sneak into you or your child’s diet; retesting can help you know if this is happening. This can also be a great opportunity to educate kids who may not be following a truly gluten-free diet.
Towards the end of this video Dr. Snyder also answers some questions about heredity and testing within certain family’s as well as the idea of having a mild case of celiac disease.