Possible Scenario #1: Answer Is No.
If you suspect you may have celiac disease, the first logical step is to visit a physician, preferably one who specializes in gastroenterology, and is highly knowledgeable about the condition. It’s often advisable to have a panel of blood tests performed first, to indicate whether or not you have a level of antibodies in your blood consistent with celiac disease. If these are positive, further consultation with your physician will be needed to determine if a gluten-free diet should be started, or if a biopsy should be the next step for a thorough diagnosis. In this case, genetic testing would simply be an extra step that would not be helpful in determining a diagnosis.
Possible Scenario #2: Answer Is Yes.
If you have been on the gluten-free diet for more than six months, blood testing for celiac antibodies could yield a false negative result, because you are not currently consuming gluten. And if you choose to not take the gluten challenge (consume gluten for a period of time) in order to produce accurate blood test results, but you really want to know if you might have or could possibly develop the disease, genetic testing is a viable option. It won’t tell you for sure that you have it or could develop it, but you will definitely know if the disease is not a possibility for you. If all symptoms have cleared up on a gluten-free diet and the genetic test is positive, this may provide you with the information you were looking for, even though it’s still not a definitive diagnosis.
Possible Scenario #3: Answer Is Maybe.
If you don’t have health insurance, but want to know if you have the genetic marker for celiac disease, it will be a costly out-of-pocket expense. It’s up to you how much you want to know, and how much you’re willing to pay for the clue.
Possible Scenario #4: Yes.
Getting a genetic test done is a good option if you want to be proactive in determining who in the family has a gene for celiac disease, in order that they can consider the possible advantages of following the gluten-free diet for preventative maintenance.