The diagnosis of coeliac disease remains difficult, even today. Many people with the disease are asymptomatic and are usually diagnosed by chance. In other cases, when a person suffers from another autoimmune disease such as autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto) or type 1 diabetes, which are more closely related, then they may end up with a diagnosis. This may occur when the person takes positive gluten antibodies results during their annual blood checkup, which contains a screening test for coeliac disease.
In addition, many health professionals do not have sufficient knowledge about the disease and its non-classical characteristics, which complicates the diagnosis process, since the required attention is not given. Otherwise, the classic symptoms of the disease associated with the gastrointestinal tract are very similar to the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, so several diagnoses are lost or delayed.
Blood tests that show the level of certain antibodies associated with the autoimmune response to gluten are the first step in diagnosing coeliac disease. The positive results of these antibodies on their own are not enough for the final diagnosis. Small bowel biopsy is considered the golden rule of diagnosis and should be performed by an experienced gastroenterologist.