Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because it affects people in different ways. There are over 300 known symptoms of celiac disease which may affect every organ in your body, not just your digestive system. Some people with celiac disease are asymptomatic, meaning that they have no external symptoms at all. However, all people with celiac disease are still at risk for long-term complications, whether or not they display any symptoms.

Celiac disease is more common than you might think, affecting 1 in 100 people worldwide, including three million Americans, but only 500,000 have been properly diagnosed. This leaves millions of people suffering with celiac disease without knowing it. Here are nine reasons you should be tested for celiac disease:

  1. You need to know how careful to be. Without a celiac disease diagnosis, you might not be as careful as you should be with gluten consumption or gluten cross-contact.
  2. You cannot get the blood test for celiac disease if you are already gluten-free. If you remove gluten from your diet before being tested for celiac disease, your results will be invalid. Get tested first.
  3. Undiagnosed celiac disease can lead to additional serious health conditions. Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), infertility and miscarriage, and intestinal cancers are just a few conditions that might develop as a result of untreated celiac disease.
  4. Getting screened for celiac disease is simple. The Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (tTG-IgA) test will be positive in about 98% of patients with celiac disease who are on a gluten-containing diet.picture 1
  5. Celiac disease is a lifelong disorder. It can affect multiple parts of your body which can lead to other serious illnesses whether or not you are on a gluten-free diet.
  6. Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease, meaning it runs in families. If you have celiac disease, there is a 1 in 10 chance that another family member has or will develop celiac disease themselves.picture 2
  7. Schools might only accommodate your dietary needs with proper records of a celiac disease diagnosis. Since celiac disease is considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, students will need signed documentation from a licensed physician stating that they have celiac disease in order for their special needs to be accommodated in school. Download CDF’s Back-to-School and 504 Plan Guide here.
  8. Your infertility could be a symptom of celiac disease. One in six women with infertility have undiagnosed celiac disease.
  9. You might finally have an answer to your continuing ailments. Chronic symptoms might not be perceived as symptoms because you have been experiencing them for so many years or you have become accustomed to them. Adopting the gluten-free diet upon a celiac disease diagnosis could make you feel like a whole new person. You will get your life back.