Once you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, the treatment is a life-long adherence to the gluten-free diet. There are currently no other treatments. No medications. Nothing. Some doctors believe in yearly screenings to see if the patient is complying with the diet, while others feel that such screening isn’t necessary. There are a couple of different reasons for yearly blood tests that I will discuss below.
First, a child who has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease may feel like he/she does not need to adhere to the diet. They may cheat when at school or when out with friends. This is more likely in older children/teens who are on their own more than kids under 12. Routine yearly (or even quarterly) testing can alert the parents and doctor to any potential problems. We are having quarterly testing done with Jon (who will be 16 in April). While Jon follows the diet for the most part, he has admitted to eating a regular Pop Tart on a dare and he isn’t necessarily as cautious as he could be when eating out.
Secondly, annual screening may be performed to ensure that no hidden gluten is being consumed. Some people have a problem following the diet for whatever reason. There may be cross contamination issues at home, the individual may travel a lot for work and have to depend on restaurants to safely feed him/her, or they may be new to the diet and learning what is safe & what isn’t. This is especially important for those who are asymptomatic. There are many people out there who don’t get sick when they consume gluten or they may not get sick when they consume trace amounts. For this reason, annual screening can help the patient & the doctor get a clearer picture of what is going on.
To those who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease: Do you get your blood tested yearly? Weigh in below in our poll and feel free to discuss in the comments section.