do I have celiac disease?

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Although more doctors are now looking for celiac disease, it is understood by celiac experts that celiac disease is still underdiagnosed.

This is primarily due to the wide variety of symptoms that people can suffer from if they have celiac disease. There are hundreds of different symptoms. Many celiacs do not even have digestive symptoms. Some merely suffer from fatigue, others osteoporosis, and others headaches. And a significant number of people with celiac disease don’t develop obvious symptoms for many decades. Because of the complexity of the presentation of celiac disease, doctors are not dialed into the diagnosis and do not think to test for it as often as they should.

Another problem is that our medical system isn’t based on the principle of optimizing your health. It’s based on treating disease. We often settle for treating symptoms rather than looking for the cause of the problem. And even then, the symptoms often have to get severe before any real searching for a cause is undertaken. Diagnosing celiac disease is still usually a last resort, if done at all.  

We need to shift medical care to focus on truly preventing problems rather than waiting for them to occur.

Excerpt from Reuters:

The number of Americans diagnosed with celiac disease continued to rise over the past decade but leveled off in 2004, according to a new study.

Researchers analyzed data on a small but representative sample of people living in Olmsted County, Minnesota, and found that between the years 2000 and 2010, the number of new cases of celiac disease increased from about 11 people per 100,000 to about 17 people per 100,000.

“We’re finding a lot more celiac disease,” said Dr. Joseph Murray, the study’s senior author from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

“Some of that is probably that we’re better at detecting it, but the fact that we’re finding it all the time shows that there are a number of new cases,” he added.

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(image thanks to glutenfreehelp.info)

Celiac disease is a hereditary allergy to gluten that results in damage to the small intestine. Common symptoms include loose stools, fatigue, weight loss and generally poor health. However, symptoms can vary widely and include constipation, weight gain, and a skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis.  

What Is Gluten? 

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is responsible for the springiness and stretchiness of bread. Without it, bread turns out heavy and dense. 



How Is Celiac Disease Diagnosed? 


Celiac disease can be assessed by blood tests or by a biopsy of the small intestine performed during an upper endoscopy. The blood tests include the tissue transglutaminase antibody test and the newer deamidated gliadin antibody test. The endomysial antibody test is older and is not as senstive as the newer tests. 



How Common Is Celiac Disease? 


The occurrence of celiac disease is much higher than previously thought. A recent study put the prevalence at 1 in every 133 people, making it one the most common genetic diseases known. Once diagnosed, 1 in 22 first degree relatives, and 1 in 39 second degree relatives, is also diagnosed positive.

How Is Celiac Disease Different from a Gluten Intolerance? 


Although celiac disease is a gluten allergy, it is only one form of gluten allergy. Many react to gluten and may have elevated serum antigliadin antibodies, but they do not have damage to the small intestine. These people have a negative biopsy of the small intestine, as well as negative antiendomysial antibody and tissue transglutaminase tests.

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Questions about Celiac Disease

What Is Celiac Disease?


Celiac disease is a hereditary allergy to gluten that results in damage to the small intestine.Common symptoms include loose stools, fatigue, weight loss and generally poor health. However, symptoms can vary widely and include constipation, weight gain, and a skin condition called dermatitis herpetiformis.

What Is Gluten? 


Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten is responsible for the springiness and stretchiness of bread. Without it, bread turns out heavy and dense.

How Is Celiac Disease Diagnosed? 


Celiac disease can be assessed by blood tests or by a biopsy of the small intestine performed during an upper endoscopy. The blood tests include the tissue transglutaminase antibody test and the newer deamidated gliadin antibody test. The endomysial antibody test is older and is not as senstive as the newer tests.

How Common Is Celiac Disease? 

The occurrence of celiac disease is much higher than previously thought. A recent study put the prevalence at 1 in every 133 people, making it one the most common genetic diseases known. Once diagnosed, 1 in 22 first degree relatives, and 1 in 39 second degree relatives, is also diagnosed positive.
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Villi are small finger-like extensions of the intestinal lining which have been damaged in celiac disease.

Celiac disease is diagnosed by measuring damage to the small intestine, either by blood testing or, traditionally, with a biopsy of the small intestine.

A positive biopsy means that the villi, or small finger-like extensions of the intestinal lining, have been damaged; this is known as villous atrophy. However, recent studies have shown blood testing to be as accurate as a biopsy.

People with celiac disease will show a marked reduction in their villi, almost as if the villi have been worn off. Damage to the villi causes a dramatic reduction in the surface area of the small intestine, resulting in both poor digestion and the poor absorption of many nutrients.

Celiac disease is not the only form of gluten intolerance or allergy. Many people react to gluten by producing elevated IgG antibodies to gluten or wheat, but they do not have damage to the small intestine. Their test results for celiac disease are negative. They become quite frustrated with traditional medicine, with its narrow focus on celiac disease, because they are told that their negative test results meant that they are not allergic or intolerant to wheat, barley, or rye. Yet when they eat a piece of bread they become sick.
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