By Monica Buzzell- Blissfully Gluten Free
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition where the body gets triggered and attacks itself when gluten is eaten. Many times the villi in your small intestines is the point of attack.There are two to three hundred symptoms associated with celiac disease. Symptoms may include a skin condition (e.g., dermatitis herpetiformis), vitamin/mineral deficiencies, digestive ailments, brain fog, joint pain and in particular for children, failure to thrive, to name just a few. The only treatment for celiac disease is to eat a gluten-free diet which means eating those foods which do not contain wheat, barley, or rye. With continued gluten exposure, there is an increase in the diagnosis of other conditions and increased risk of cancers such as osteoporosis and small bowel cancer, respectively.
As some of us have experienced, it may take time to get a diagnosis of celiac disease. With numerous symptoms that are known and some, similar to other diseases, there is little wonder why it takes a while to diagnose the disease. If a person has celiac-like symptoms, it is important to work with a health care provider to have celiac testing done as soon as you can.
In addition to a full medical history, the standard celiac testing in the U.S. consists of antibody blood work (tTG-IGA and sometimes total serum IGA or DGP IgA and IgG) and an upper endoscopy of the small intestine. However, it is important to continue to eat gluten when having these tests done as these measure your body’s response to gluten. Otherwise, the results may not be accurate or may be inconclusive. Unfortunately for people who have intense symptoms from eating gluten, it may be too traumatic to eat gluten for weeks prior to testing.
Health care providers do their best, but sometimes it may require you to advocate to have celiac disease testing done. This is particularly imperative when you continue to have one or more celiac symptoms or have been given multiple diagnoses but no celiac disease testing has been done, AND you want to determine whether or not you have the disease. Take time to think about what your body is telling you and what the best care is for you or your family member. This might mean switching to a different health care provider or visiting one of the celiac disease centers around the country to get the services or support that you or your family needs. Once you have the diagnosis and eat a gluten-free diet, you will feel so much better!
Please sign in to leave a comment.