The other week I posted on my Instagram account about how I had been invited by my doctors for an ‘annual check up’ because of my coeliac disease. My coeliac disease, I might add, which I have was diagnosed with some 18 years ago and never heard from my doctors on it since. So it’s no surprise that after this out-of-the-blue letter, loads of people were getting in touch and asking if they needed one too.
The letter from my GP came just before my birthday, informing me that I would need to book in for a blood test, as well as to check my height, weight and BMI. This forms part of an annual check up for people with coeliac disease – something I’d never been invited to before.
It was really interesting to see the response on Instagram to this. Loads of people asked if they should have one too, but equally quite a few people responded to say they had always had a regular check in with their GP. There seems to be some discrepancy across the UK, with different GPs doing different things.
What is a coeliac check up?
Basically, a coeliac check up is a blood test. I asked what I was being tested for and the nurse reeled off a whole list. This included checking the antibodies which highlight coeliac disease, as well as iron levels, B12, thyroid function, liver function, vitamin D and more. Basically it seems like a full MOT. And I can understand this, as so many conditions are linked to coeliac disease, and it’s important to make sure nothing untoward is going on.
My bloods all came back fine (minus my thyroid one, but that’s a whole other story!). So for me, it was nice to know I’m still on the right track. However, is this something I necessarily need each year? I did some digging to find out.
Do I need a coeliac check up?
According to Coeliac UK, anyone diagnosed with coeliac disease should have a regular check up – recommended annually – with a GP, nurse or gastroenterologist. They recommend bloods are taken for the following:
- full blood count
- vitamin B12
- coeliac disease antibodies
- thyroid function tests
- liver function tests
Coeliac UK also recommends your height and weight are reviewed, as well as your symptoms. A chat about your diet is also helpful to ensure you don’t need any extra help from a dietician.
What if my GP hasn’t asked to see me?
If you haven’t had a coeliac check up and you’re concerned about it, you should speak to your GP. The NHS website does state under the treatment of coeliac disease that after diagnosis: “Your GP will offer you an annual review during which your height and weight will be measured and your symptoms reviewed. They’ll also ask you about your diet and assess whether you need any further help or specialist nutritional advice.”
It might be that different NHS Trusts operate differently (that certainly seems to be the case) and your GP might be able to explain why you haven’t had one. It’s also super important that if you ever have any problems, recurring symptoms, or further worries, it goes without saying you should contact your GP anyway.
Personally, I’m glad I had my coeliac check up, because it helped me discover my thyroid was going a bit bandy again. It’s also a nice reassurance that I’m doing things right with my gluten free diet and that there are no further health complications. It took literally 2 minutes of my day and I’ll definitely be booking back in when I get a reminder next year.
Do you have regular coeliac check ups?
I’d love to know if this is something you’ve been offered. Have you always had an annual check up? Only been offered one recently? Or never had one at all? Let me know in the comments – I’d be really interested to hear how different it is across the country!