There’s now an at home test available for celiac disease from Imaware Health. But, is it a replacement for a visit to your doctor? After N was diagnosed with celiac disease, it was recommended to Amy and I that we both get tested as immediate family members. Not only was it recommended, but we were both naturally curious and, of course, we would really like to know which one of us provided the genetics. If one of us tested positively for celiac disease, we’d have answers to both of those questions.
The Traditional Blood Test
Amy went the traditional route and asked her doctor during her next visit, who in turn set her up with the order for a celiac panel. With the order in hand, she went to Quest Diagnostics and gave a few vials of blood and went on her way. She’s good with giving blood, especially after going through a pregnancy. But, me on the other hand, bleh. I hate giving blood. I get all nauseous and light headed.
Quick and Painless?
That’s why I delayed going to the doctor. Giving blood is a good reason for me to avoid going at all. That’s when I decided to go ahead and try a different way. I stumbled upon Imaware on Black Friday when they were running a small promotion.. something like $20 off the regular test price. I had heard of Imaware through some celiac research as they are one of the only at home tests for celiac on the market that has a stamp of approval from Beyond Celiac and other organizations. That said, I decided to give it a try.
After placing an order through their web site, I received the kit in the mail approximately three days later. The next morning, I decided to give it a go.
Go… You can do it Tyler.
This is the first time I had ever had to prick my finger for a blood sample. Usually I just hold my arm out and close my eyes while they steal my blood. Just do it, Tyler. Don’t be a baby.
Okay. That didn’t hurt so bad. But, thankfully they gave me two lancets because I didn’t press down hard enough when using the first one and they only can be used one time. But, wait, there was no blood coming out. OMG. I had to squeeze and squeeze. If you do not like giving blood, I DO NOT recommend having to force a vial’s worth [Edit: It’s not actually a full vial, it’s only 5 drops according to Imaware.. but in the moment it feels like a full vial] out of yourself!
I ended up lying on the couch in sweat after finally filling the vial. The hard part was over and the rest was super easy. I dropped the little package off at the post office and headed off to work.
A Quick Turnaround
I was super surprised about how fast I heard back. It was only three or four days later that I had an e-mail stating that my report was generated. Unlike having to play phone tag with your doctor, you simply log in to their online portal and download your PDF report.
The report is easy to read.
It’s beautiful actually. It starts off with a simple line that tells you your likelihood to have celiac disease. In my case, “you are less likely to have celiac disease.” You can view a sample of their test report here.
It then gives you some brief reasons why and a synopsis of your actual test results. In the third section, you’ll receive a percentage of likelihood to have celiac disease. This can be a little ambiguous, because if you score somewhere in the middle then it’s like having no answer at all. If you’re looking for the nitty gritty numbers, those are included as well.
So, why go to the doctor?
Good question. Great question. For one, even if Imaware’s test tells you that you’re highly likely to have celiac disease, you’ll still need to consult your doctor for an official diagnosis. And, guess what that means? Real bloodwork and an endoscopy! You will also want your doctor to interpret the results and help you develop a treatment plan, plus suggest ongoing care. That is, unless you’re satisfied with the unofficial result as your own confirmation.
You’re also not going to be ordering this test for a toddler or child. If you think your child has celiac disease, talk to your pediatrician and get a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist (read our post on diagnosing celiac disease in a toddler). This test is best suited for adult patients.
Another final reason to go to the doctor would be because your insurance may cover the entire cost of the test. Doing the at-home test through Imaware is not reimbursable by your insurance provider.
So, am I happy with the results? Yeah, but I oddly have this feeling still in the back of my mind, even with the numerical results, that maybe it wasn’t 100% accurate and I am still pondering a follow-up with my doctor, especially since I have an immediate family member (my daughter) who has a confirmed diagnosis. Looking for the at home test? Click here