Why is this test important? Celiac disease is a disorder affecting the digestive system. It is an inappropriate immune response when a person intakes gluten. Gluten refers to a protein which is found in all forms of wheat, rye and barely. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, an immune reaction occurs and causes damage to the small intestines. This response leads to inflammation of the small intestine and to damage and destruction of the villi that line the intestinal wall. When the villi are destroyed, the body is much less capable of absorbing food and begins to develop symptoms associated with malnutrition and malabsorption.
In the United States, it has been estimated that 1 in 133 people in the U.S. have celiac disease , but only about 3% of this group have been diagnosed. In part, this is because symptoms may vary widely from person to person. According to the Celiac Sprue Association, only about 10% of those with celiac disease will have typical malabsorption symptoms. About 40% will have less typical symptoms and as many as 33% may not have any associated symptoms.
What does the test include? The HealthCheckUSA Celiac Disease Antibody Profile Comprehensive test includes:
Who should be tested? Celiac disease is found throughout the world but is most prevalent in those of European descent. It can affect anyone at any age and is more common in women. It is thought to be an inherited tendency that is triggered by an environmental, emotional, or physical event - although the exact mechanism is not fully understood. According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, about 5 to 15% of close family members of a celiac disease patient will also have the condition. Individuals who are experiencing the following symptoms should be tested:
Before the test - A patient wanting to be tested for Celiac disease, must be eating gluten at the time of the test. When the body is exposed to the gluten proteins, it forms antibodies that recognize and act against not only the grain proteins, but also against constituents of the intestinal villi. As long as the patient continues to be exposed to the proteins, he will continue to produce these autoantibodies.
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