Wednesday

A Little Awareness Goes A Long Way (pass it on)



WHAT is Celiac Disease?

  • Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder where the villi of the small intestine become damaged by consuming gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye)
  • When a Celiac consumes gluten, the body reacts by attacking itself because it views gluten as the enemy
  • Untreated, Celiac can cause anemia, malnutrition and increase the risk for other autoimmune diseases as well as some Cancers
  • Some people with Celiac also suffer from Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) which is a condition where the skin breaks out in painful rashes and blisters
  • Celiac is genetic, meaning it can be passed down in families
  • There is no known trigger, but those with the Celiac gene can develop the disease at any point in their life
  • Once the disease manifests, there is no "off" button and a strict gluten free diet is important


WHO should be tested

  • 1st-degree relatives of someone with Celiac such as a sibling, child or parent
  • Those with unexplained infertility
  • People with Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, Osteoporosis or Type 1 Diabetes
  • If you have unexplained and chronic GI issues or have iron, B12 or folate deficiencies

WHY accurate testing is important

  • With an accurate Celiac diagnosis, you are able to start a gluten free diet without doubt and you will have a better chance adhering to it
  • If you have a negative blood test and symptoms are still present, further testing needs to be explored as an IgA deficiency can cause a false negative blood test
  • Ruling out Celiac is just as important as confirming it. It enables you and your physician to further explore your symptoms and hopefully pinpoint the cause


HOW to be tested properly

  • Remain on a normal gluten-containing diet (cutting back gluten will sku test results as well)
  • Have your physician run a blood test to measure levels of certain antibodies - anti-tissue transglutaminase (tTG) anti-endomysium (EMA) and the anti-deamidated gliadin peptides (DGP)
  • While a positive antibody test is able to suspect Celiac Disease, it is not conclusive (false positives can happen for various reasons) and further testing needs to be explored. This is where a biopsy comes into play as it allows Doctor's to check for damage to the lining of the small intestine
  • Feeling better when gluten is avoided does not necessarily mean you have Celiac Disease. Irritable Bowels Syndrome (IBS), Celiac, Chronic Fatigue and various other autoimmune disorders are easily confused for one another
  • If you are already adhering to a gluten free diet, you will need to undergo a gluten challenge to ensure accurate test results. This means you will need to consume 10 grams of gluten (4-5 slices of wheat bread) daily for up to 8 weeks. If this is not an option for you, there is genetic testing available. It won't diagnose you as Celiac, but it can rule it out if you do not carry the gene.





2 comments

  1. Great post! I have Celiac Disease as well as type 1 diabetes & Chronic Kidney Disease. It's been 2.5 years since my diagnosis and I find that educating people is absolutely necessary as they don't know what gluten is and a lot of people that I know don't even realize that natural foods like vegetables and fruit are gluten free too. I avoid as much GF boxed food as possible as I'm on a renal diet and it's really not hard to change ones habits :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for the kind words Jason! I find that although more and more people are hearing about Celiac Disease, the vast majority really don't understand how serious it is.

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