Celiac disease damages the villi, which are finger-like projections in the small intestine. Villi are responsible for absorbing nutrients from food. Because of this, it is highly likely that people with celiac disease will be deficient in essential vitamins and nutrients when diagnosed. Laboratory tests should be done within three to six months following a diagnosis and annually for the rest of your life.
Laboratory Tests for Celiac Disease Management After Diagnosis
Regular monitoring with blood tests can help to answer the following questions:
- Is the small intestine healing?
- Am I being followed and screened for common nutritional deficiencies and associated diseases?
- Am I getting better?
- Am I being exposed to gluten?
Laboratory tests to include in celiac disease management include:
- Celiac disease antibodies (IgA-tTG)
- Nutritional anemia profile (hemoglobin, hematocrit, folate, ferritin, vitamin B12)
- Vitamin profile (thiamin, vitamin B6, 25-hydroxy vitamin D)
- Mineral profile (copper, zinc)
- Lipid profile
- Electrolyte and renal profile
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
Adults with celiac disease should have a bone mineral density scan within the first year after diagnosis.
The specific tests you receive will vary depending on your situation and your doctor's advice. Please use these tests as a guide to your lifelong management of celiac disease.
While blood tests are extremely helpful, visiting a registered dietitian knowledgeable of celiac disease and the gluten-free diet is considered the "gold standard" for understanding how to know if you are accidentally being exposed to gluten (even if symptoms are not present).
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Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' Celiac Disease Toolkit