Gluten Free Guerrillas
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asymptomatic coeliac disease

My partner has just been diagnosed after investigations for unexplained anaemia, blood test and duodenal biopsy confirmed coeliac disease.

our son was diagnosed as a baby, so not surprising.!

Question how common is coeliac disease with no symptoms ?

Why are all blood results normal apart from the iron ferratin levels ( iron stores)

Why is there malabsorbtion of iron only and nothing else?

6 Replies

Hi finnbar, As far as I know there are no figures for asymptomatic coeliacs. They are out there though and I think demonstrate that our knowledge base for this disease is still in it`s infancy. I wouldn`t be surprised if, in the future, there is a separate category for `asymptomatics`. I`m no medic but it seems so obvious that one group gets physically felt dire symptoms and the other no apparent effects whatsoever when ingesting gluten.

I had low B12 and folic acid levels which led to high antibody results, then biopsy confirmed `half sized` villi, hence my diagnosis. I continue on a GF diet because of the dangers of hidden effects within my body, were I to eat gluten.

Can`t answer your last two queries I`m afraid, but someone in our community will be able to as they`re a knowledgeable lot!

Best of luck to your partner.


To answer the last of your questions, I think iron is the canary in the coalmine when it comes to nutritional deficiencies - it's usually the first to show up.

In women the iron loss is accelerated by blood loss during menstruation, and bizarrely the more iron deficient you are, the more you bleed (in some women anyway). Bad design that!

There's a lot of iron in blood, in haemaglobin (red blood cells), in transferrin (usable iron) and in ferritin (stored iron). The stores run out first, so ferritin falls before the other two, and red blood cells are the last to get short rations.

Most other minerals and viamins are mainly stored in other organs, with only a small fraction found in blood, so they are less affected by blood loss.

That's my theory, anyway!


Finnbar - have they been diagnosed by biopsy? It's unusual to only have low ferritin (the iron store level) instead people normally have extremely low vitamin D, B12 and calcium. Some also have odd liver enzymes.


Hello FionaGFG.......yes diagnosis confirmed with biopsy. Blood tests showed low haemoglobin, low haematocrit and low ferritin. Folates low but just about within the normal range...........All other blood tests normal !


My mother has coeliac disease, so I was aware of it. About 6 months after I had my son, I became suddenly very tired, short of breath and unable to do as much as usual - symptoms of anaemia. I asked for a blood test which showed an Hb of 8, so I went on iron supplements. Since I was anaemic for no reason, I asked for a follow-up blood test for coeliac, which came back positive. I was then diagnosed by biopsy. Prior to the anaemia I was totally aysmptomatic - during pregnancy I had regular blood tests which were normal and showed good iron levels; after delivery I lost a lot of blood but again, blood tests came back normal.


Is it thought that a trauma to the body like an accident or having a stressful birth can trigger coeliac disease or maybe a suddenly having a very stressful lifestyle? x


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