Laboratory test package to assay diseases and digestive problems caused by gluten
The package examines the pathological conditions and diseases caused by gluten. It includes tests for celiac disease (wheat hypersensitivity), allergy to gluten-containing grains (e.g. wheat flour) and non-allergic, non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
What are gluten-related disorders?
Each of the gluten-related pathological conditions is a combination of extremely complex symptoms that affect the entire body. Symptoms can occur at any age and can be very varied, not appearing in some patients and causing daily problems in others.
Several diseases are known in common knowledge as gluten sensitivity, but in reality, they are three separate diseases with similar symptoms. In all three cases, there are different factors behind the disease, the only thing they have in common is that gluten triggers the symptoms, hence the name gluten-dependent diseases and gluten-related diseases.
Diseases caused by gluten include celiac disease, allergies to gluten-containing grains (e.g. wheat flour), and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Celiac disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy, wheat hypersensitivity)
As Hungarian cuisine is grain-based, it is especially difficult to give up the use of grain products during our meals. However, it is important to pay attention to our body’s signals, because the four most commonly consumed grains, the alcohol-soluble component of gluten in wheat, gliadin, and similar proteins in rye, barley and oats are responsible for the development of a hereditary autoimmune disease, celiac disease. Celiac disease is an immune disease, not an allergic reaction.
Gluten ingested during food intake cannot be processed by the body in this case, which therefore interacts with the small intestinal mucosa and the immune system, in response to which the body produces antibodies against its own tissues. The immune process against the small intestinal mucosa begins to destroy the intestinal villi, thereby reducing the absorption of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, leading to malabsorption and persistent inflammation.
Because celiac disease is hereditary, genetically determined, it can develop at any age. To the best of our current knowledge, it is not fully curable, but after diagnosis as soon as possible, it can be perfectly treated and controlled with properly selected therapy.
Typical symptoms are chronic diarrhoea, a bloated, thin-walled abdomen – called a “spider belly” – and heavy, light-coloured, fatty stools. It may be accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms, lactose intolerance, dental enamel defects, recurrent herpes skin lesions, persistent fatigue, headache, feeling of exhaustion, loss of appetite, skin and neurological symptoms, as well as endocrine disorders, anaemia, infertility. A common symptom of the disease is iron deficiency anaemia, which is not ameliorated by oral iron supplementation. The disease is often not accompanied by the described gastrointestinal symptoms, but can occur without them, with various complaints, so it is recommended to perform a genetic test.
It is a disease that affects the whole body, not only damages the digestive system, but also indirectly the bone system and skin, and can also be accompanied by type 1 diabetes and thyroid problems.
Wheat (grain) allergy
Wheat allergy is the only member of gluten-dependent diseases that, unlike the others, is of allergic origin. The immune system reacts with hypersensitivity to the gliadin protein found in wheat and begins to produce antibodies against it. Wheat flour-specific immunoglobulin-E, or IgE, levels are elevated in the body. Wheat allergy can be food, respiratory, contact allergy, so the symptoms can be different, it can also appear with respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin symptoms.
It has no specific symptoms, its typical symptoms are similar to those of other food allergies:
- Digestive system: abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhoea, heartburn
- Respiratory: itchy nose, runny nose, nasal congestion, sneezing, dyspnoea, asthma (baker’s asthma)
- Skin disorders: hives, eczema, itching
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, throat
- Oral allergy syndrome: itchy sensation on the lips and tongue
- Eye symptoms: itchy, teary eyes
- Anaphylactic shock
Unlike celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, the disease can be treated with a wheat-free diet. Thus, all types of wheat or wheat flour (e.g. durum, couscous, bulgur, etc.) should be avoided during meals.
Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)
There is a gluten sensitivity that is different from celiac disease and also from wheat allergy, but because its symptoms are similar to the former, it is still difficult to diagnose. It is actually a rediscovered disease, the first description of which dates back to the 1980s.
Its symptoms are similar to autoimmune celiac disease but are milder and appear a few hours after consuming a gluten-containing food. An important difference is that in case of NCGS, the small intestine is not damaged, there are no associated diseases, there is no genetic difference, so it cannot be detected by traditional celiac examination methods, their results will be negative. The causes are still unknown.
If someone has regular problems with abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and bloating, you should also keep in mind that your complaints may be related to eating, consuming gluten-containing foods. However, it is important not to start a gluten-free diet in case of suspicion, as this may give a false result in the investigation. Visit a gastroenterology clinic, where the specialist will make the diagnosis after a thorough examination and after the exclusion of other possible diseases (celiac disease, IBS).
With proper food intake, eliminating gluten-containing foods can resolve unpleasant symptoms
How to diagnose gluten-dependent diseases?
Medicover’s latest, innovative laboratory package offers a specialized, fast and effective test for gluten-dependent diseases and digestive problems through a single blood sample. The package includes tests for celiac disease/gluten sensitivity, food allergy to gluten-containing grains and non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
These laboratory tests should be performed before starting a gluten-free diet, as the diet may result in the disappearance of antibodies and false-negative tests.
In what cases is this laboratory package recommended?
In all cases where we experience symptoms associated with gluten-dependent diseases, a thorough medical examination as soon as possible is important. Self-diagnosis and a wrong choice of diet can even cause serious damage to our body, so a full laboratory test is recommended even for mild symptoms.
If there has already been celiac disease in the family, prevention should be a priority due to genetic accumulation. The most important thing is to make sure that the necessary diagnostics are carried out, in which Medicover’s latest laboratory test package, compiled specifically for the diagnosis of gluten-dependent diseases, offers help.
What tests does the package include?
The goal of the laboratory package is to detect all three gluten-dependent diseases in one blood sample with as little inconvenience as possible.
The package includes the following laboratory tests:
- Nutritive Allergy Panel: The 20 most common foods contain allergens, including wheat. The nutritive allergy panel is also available as a separate test.
- Celiac screening: detects abnormal autoantibodies circulating in the patient’s blood serum that are characteristic of the disease. Detection of antibodies against tissue transglutaminase (a-tTG) is the first test in case of suspected celiac disease. The test detects disease-causing antibodies even in the presence of IgA deficiency in celiac disease, with a sensitivity of 90-95% in untreated patients. If the anti-tTG test is positive, the patient is likely to be sensitive to gluten.
- Food intolerance test: if the body is unable to break down certain foods or absorption is disrupted, “inappropriate” proteins are released into the circulation, against which the body produces a specific antibody (IgG) tailored to the foreign protein. The test determines the amount of IgG-type antibodies produced against food for grains, gluten, and other dietary IgGs. If the test gives a positive result for certain nutrients, i.e. it shows intolerance, leaving certain food out of our diet is expected to reduce our complaints.
How do I prepare for the test?
Laboratory testing requires no preparation, having an empty stomach is not required for sampling.
However, it is important that you follow your usual diet before the test, do not go on a gluten-free diet, otherwise the test will not give real results.
When is the result expected?
On the 7th working day following the examination.