Check ups and vaccinations
After diagnosis of coeliac disease it’s important that you have regular follow ups. This usually means going to an annual review or check up appointment.
Although you may feel you are doing well on the diet and that your symptoms have gone away, regular follow up makes sure you’re supported and kept up to date with any new developments in managing your condition.
An annual review can be carried out by your GP if they have a good understanding of coeliac disease, or it may be your gastroenterologist, specialist nurse or dietitian. If you live in Scotland and are over 16 years old, you'll be offered an annual health check by your community pharmacy through the Gluten Free Food Service.
During your review, you should have:
- your weight and height measured
- your symptoms reviewed
- your diet and adherence to the gluten free diet assessed and the need for specialist diet and nutrition advice considered.
If there are any concerns raised in your annual review, then you should be referred to a specialist for further assessment. There, they will consider the need for any follow up blood tests, a bone scan to test for osteoporosis and the risk of long term complications and other conditions.
The blood tests could be checking for:
- full blood count
- vitamin B12
- coeliac disease antibodies either tissue transglutaminase (tTG) and/or endomysial antibodies (EMA)
- thyroid function tests
- liver function tests.
If you have not had a coeliac disease check up for a long time, contact your healthcare team to discuss this with them.
Monitoring coeliac disease in children
The British Society of Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (BSPGHAN) recommends that children should have ongoing monitoring with an experienced paediatric dietitian and gastroenterologist.
Children should be followed up six to 12 months after diagnosis and should receive a yearly check up after this. This should include an antibody blood test every year or less often.
Children should also have their height and weight checked to monitor their growth and development.
However, if your or your child’s symptoms have not improved or have got worse since following the gluten free diet, speak to your healthcare team. More information on managing coeliac disease in children.
If you have coeliac disease you could be at risk of being hyposplenic, your spleen might not work very well. Therefore we recommend that people with coeliac disease should receive the pneumococcal vaccine and a booster every five years. Because of the risk of hyposplenism, flu vaccination is also recommended by the Department of Health. Vaccination against meningitis A,C,W,Y was introduced to the childhood immunisation programme in 2014. Our Health Advisory Council recommends that anyone born between 1995 and 2014 should speak with their GP about having the A,C,W,Y vaccination.