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Diagnosis of Celiac Disease

The doctor will ask about your symptoms. Your past health and family health history will also be important to share. A physical exam will be done. Celiac disease may be suspected based on your symptoms. However, there are other conditions that can cause similar symptoms. An infection or food allergy are common examples. Tests may be done to confirm celiac or rule out other issues.

Early diagnosis of celiac disease is important. Treatment can help to slow or stop damage to the intestines. Tests for celiac disease include:

Blood Tests

Blood tests may be done to look for:

  • Gluten antibodies—a sign that the body is reacting to gluten.
  • Vitamin and mineral levels—to see if there is a problem with absorption.
  • Blood cell counts—to rule out an infection or anemia

Celiac disease tends to run in families. Genetic testing may be done in certain situations.

Endoscopy

An upper GI endoscopy uses a scope that is passed down the throat. It has a camera that allows the doctor to view tissue inside the stomach and intestine. Tools can also be passed through the scope for a biopsy. A sample of the intestine will be removed and checked under a microscope. This will show any damage and help with the diagnosis.

Endoscopy

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REFERENCES:

Celiac disease. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114570/Celiac-disease. Updated January 10, 2018. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Celiac disease. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/malabsorption-syndromes/celiac-disease. Updated May 2016. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Diagnosis. Celiac Disease Foundation website. Available at: to look for specific signs of intestinal damage. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Diagnosis of celiac disease. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/celiac-disease/diagnosis. Updated June 2016. Accessed February 12, 2018.

Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daus Mahnke, M D  Last Updated: 2/12/2018