IgA Deficienct Celiac

IgA Antibody

Have you tested negative in the celiac blood test but still suffering from lots of horrible symptoms which sound like undiagnosed celiac disease? The test may have yielded a false negative for a number of reasons. One obvious reason for a false negative on the celiac blood test is that you haven’t been eating gluten, or haven’t been eating enough gluten. You must be eating gluten consistently to get a positive result! Another reason is that you could be IgA deficient. I am.

The results of my celiac blood test were inconclusive because I am IgA deficient. Following this result, as I was suffering from almost all the text book symptoms of celiac disease, my doctors did an endoscopy. My endoscopy showed signs of villous atrophy and I was diagnosed with celiac disease. If they had stopped at the negative blood test I would probably still be feeling like crap everyday, or at least I wouldn’t have the answers I do today!

I completely forgot about the IgA deficiency thing for a while because I didn’t understand what it meant and my doctor only casually mentioned it at the time but now it intrigues me and I want to understand more about it. There are bunch of sites and articles out there which talk about IgA deficiency but recently I came across this interesting website which supports people with and provides useful information on Primary Immunodeficiency, which IgA deficiency falls under.

SO..

What is IgA Deficiency?

From Immunedisease.com, “There are five types (classes) of immunoglobulins or antibodies in the blood: IgG, IgA, IgM, IgD, and IgE. Selective IgA Deficiency is the complete absence of the IgA class of immunoglobulins in the blood serum and secretions. IgA deficiency is usually inherited.”

Why is it relevant to celiac disease?

IgA deficiency is more common in people with celiac disease than in the general population. It can also result in a false-negative in the blood test for celiac disease. It’s often the IgA class of immunoglobulins which are used to test for celiac but if a patient is deficient in these then you can’t get a positive result, which is what happened in my case.

How common is IgA Deficiency?

Selective IgA deficiency is one of the most common primary immunodeficiency diseases. It’s thought that around one in 500 people have IgA deficiency but many people never discover they have it.

What problems result from IgA Deficiency?

For many people, no problems will arise. For some, a common problem is susceptibility to infections. Another is the occurrence of autoimmune diseases, such as celiac disease. Allergies may also be more common in people with IgA deficiency compared with the general population. One other thing, which certainly caught my attention, is that people with IgA deficiency are often considered to be at increased risk of anaphylactic reactions when they receive blood products that contain some IgA but so far there is no real agreement between experts in this field to how real this threat is.

UPDATE: I’m curious whether being IgA deficient affects the important antibodies my baby receives through breastfeeding.  If I’m IgA deficient, does that mean that when breastfeeding my baby she isn’t getting these important IgA antibodies? I haven’t found anyone who can answer this question yet but I’m curious..

Are you IgA deficient? What do you think about all this? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. I’m fascinated and can’t wait to learn more..

 

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Comments

  • I am also IGA deficient and had a negative blood test, followed by a negative endoscopy result – despite having lots of symptoms. Interestingly, my son has also inherited this deficiency but had a positive blood test and endoscopy result. Interesting reading your comments

  • That’s really interesting! Thanks for writing this post, Laura! Just two weeks ago, my blood test came back negative, and the doctor refused to allow an endoscopy. Just like you, I also suffer from all of the symptoms. I’ll definitely go back and mention IgA deficiency to him.

  • Interesting, Sarah..

    Best of luck, Nerrida!

  • Thanks so much for this post, it has been so informative! I was diagnosed as coeliac aged 5 when I was a terribly behaved and always ill child. and I was negative for antibodies funnily enough, they diagnosed me without an endoscopy (presumably because of my age) because they went on the assumption that it was that because of my mother, and all her siblings, are coeliac. I don’t think they could say no to that ey?

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