What is Celiac Disease?
Also known as celiac sprue and gluten-sensitive enteropathy, celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disorder. It is also hereditary – people who have a first-degree relative affected by the disease are considerably more at-risk than others. 1 in 100 people are affected by a heightened sensitivity to gluten; however the occurrence of celiac disease is somewhat rarer than gluten sensitivity.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley among other things. In celiac suffers, gluten triggers an immune response which attacks the small intestine, damaging the villi (small hair-like protrusions that line the small intestine and bolster the absorption of nutrients). By damaging the villi, the body’s ability to absorb nutrients (particularly fat, calcium and iron) is reduced and consequences celiac disease could potentially be life-threatening.
Why take a Celiac Genetic Predisposition Test
- Unlike serology testing/ blood antibody testing, you do not need to be on a gluten-containing diet to take our test*
- You do not need any blood samples – all we require is quick mouth swab sample
- It can save you a lot of discomfort associated with other celiac tests which might require blood draws.
- Following a gluten-free or reduced-gluten diet makes sense if you have positive genetic test results – otherwise there is a chance you could be doing it for nothing.
*Due to the fact what we offer is a genetic test, the results will not be affected if the individual taking the test is on a gluten free diet.
Science behind our Celiac Disease Genetic Testing
Celiac disease does not always manifest in clear symptoms – many of the symptoms are shared with a range of other diseases. Our celiac predisposition test looks at 2 genes which are often the cause of celiac disease:
- HLA DQ2
- HLA DQ8.
It is a powerful tool for individuals wishing to establish their genetic susceptibility to the disease.
A celiac disease genetic test will confirm that you carry one or both of the genes implicated in the disease, placing you at a higher risk of developing celiac disease when compared to someone who does not carry the gene/s. Even if you carry the genes, you may never develop celiac disease.
If the results are negative (meaning neither of the HLA genes have been identified in your sample), you have a 99% change of not developing celiac disease.
Note that the test results cannot confirm you are actually Celiac at the time of testing. If screening tests come back positive, the next step in diagnosing celiac disease should be discussed with your health specialist.
Celiac Disease Genetic Testing is Recommended when:
- An individual exhibits multiple symptoms associated with Celiac disease
- An individual has been following a gluten-free diet but has not carried out any celiac tests before.
- Individuals who have first degree, blood relatives who are celiac sufferers.
- Serology (blood) testing/ antibody testing do not provide clear results
Can I treat Celiac Disease?
The only way you can treat celiac disease is by following a rigorous gluten-free diet (GFD). Such a diet eliminates food such as bread, pasta and beer and other foods that contain wheat, spelt rye and barley. Damage can be caused to the intestine by consuming even the smallest traces of gluten, such as that can be found on a toaster or cutting board. It is recommended that you tailor your diet according to the severity of your celiac disease. In cases where one has a milder case of the disease, you do not have to completely cut out certain foods from your diet, but merely consume less of the food in question.
Nowadays one can easily find gluten-free foods on the market. Foods that are rich in gluten can be substituted by gluten-free grains and starches like buckwheat, corn, millet and legumes. Other foods that are allowed in a gluten-free diet include eggs, all meats, milk products (if lactose intolerance is not present) and vegetables.