When Your Diagnoses of Celiac Disease is in Question

Jul 1, 2017 | Kanaaz Pereira, Connect Moderator | @kanaazpereira

Blood tests for celiac disease are usually accurate, but what does it mean when there is a discrepancy between biopsies suggesting celiac disease, but blood tests are negative? In response to a question from a Mayo Clinic Connect member, Dr. Joseph Murray, M.D., explains that there may be other conditions that can cause changes in the intestinal biopsy that are characteristic of celiac disease. Tropical sprue, certain medications, or infections can cause damage to the intestinal wall.

Other reasons could be IgA deficiency; people with this disorder have absent levels of a blood protein called immunoglobulin A (IgA), which protects against infections of the mucous membranes lining the mouth, airways and digestive tract. Why is it important to investigate and identify intestinal damage when test discrepancies occur? They may have alternate causes and subsequently alternate treatment, Dr. Murray emphasizes.

For more information about celiac disease, visit mayoclinic.org/celiac disease

Dr. Murray, M.D., is a gastroenterologist and celiac disease expert at Mayo Clinic.

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