Coeliac Screening

 

Coeliac Screening is a simple finger prick blood test that offers a convenient and reliable method to detect the key autoantibodies commonly associated with coeliac disease.

Results available in 10 minutes

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by a permanent intolerance to gluten – a protein found in grains such wheat, barley and rye.

In genetically-predisposed people, eating gluten induces a severe autoimmune response which damages the lining of the small intestine. This creates lesions and, if left untreated, the intestinal villi become inflamed and flattened. This usually results in the destruction of the villi and reduces the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients. Over time, this can cause the symptoms and complications commonly associated with coeliac disease.

Coeliac disease is associated with a wide variety of symptoms:

MILD

Abdominal/stomach pain
Bloating
Mouth ulcers
Constipation
Indigestion
Loss of appetite
Tingling in hands and feet
Alopecia
Dermatitis herpetiformis

SEVERE

Diarrhoea
Weight loss
Stomach cramps
Muscle spasms
Oedema
Joint and/or bone pain
Anaemia
Vomiting
Growth problems
Infertility/miscarriages
Depression
 

Prevalence
Coeliac disease is believed to affect 1 in 100 people. Research shows that young people today are five times more likely to have the disease compared to young people in the 1950’s, although coeliac disease can occur at any age. Under-diagnosis, however, is a major factor. According to Coeliac UK, only 10-15% of sufferers are clinically diagnosed. If a first degree family member (mother, father, sister or brother) has the condition, then the chance of developing the disease increases to 1 in 10.

Treatment
Coeliac disease is not curable. It is a permanent, life-long condition and there is no medication available to treat the disease. However, damage to the small intestine is reversible, so patients should follow a gluten-free diet to eliminate all foods derived from wheat, rye or barley (and oats if contaminated with wheat). If a gluten-free diet is strictly adhered to, the intestinal villi can recover and patients should experience an improvement in symptoms.

Diagnosis
Left undiagnosed, coeliac disease can increase susceptibility to life-threatening conditions such as osteoporosis, central nervous system diseases, internal haemorrhages and certain cancers (lymphomas), so early detection is vital.

While an intestinal biopsy remains the “gold standard” method for diagnosing coeliac disease, it is highly invasive for the patient. However, blood tests are now available to screen for coeliac disease by detecting specific autoantibodies commonly associated with the condition.

Total antibody test: IgA/IgG/IgM- tTG

  • IgA-tTG is the key antibody associated with CD
  • IgA-tTG antibody is highly sensitive and specific for CD
  • Patients with CD can exhibit IgA-deficiency, so testing for IgG-tTG prevents false negative results being obtained
  • Recommended algorithm according to NICE clinical guideline 86 (IgA deficiency)

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