Five good reasons to get tested for celiac disease
Written by Janelle Holden of BodyMindLove
“So your grandmother had lupus …” my naturopath said.
“Yes,” I nodded. “She found out in her late thirties.”
“And your sensitivities to gluten were high on the food allergy panel … ” she continued.
Again, I nodded.
She closed my file and said. “I think you need to get tested for celiac disease.”
And I did. I am one of the lucky ones. I only went to one doctor and had one simple blood test to confirm the disease.
They may be plagued by digestive disorders or they may have symptoms that seem entirely unrelated to the digestive system. Or, they may have no symptoms at all.
But let me back up a minute, because I’m assuming you even know what celiac disease is. It might be helpful to first explain what it is NOT.
It is not an allergy to gluten.
It is not gluten intolerance.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. And what an autoimmune disorder really means is that the body can’t tell the difference between a foreign invader (like gluten) and its own healthy tissues. And so it creates antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue.
With celiac, the healthy tissue destroyed is in the small intestine. The tiny finger-like villi in the small intestine that help absorb the nutrients in food get flattened when someone with celiac eats wheat, rye, or barley.
And when people don’t get proper nutrition for a length of time … they can develop all sorts of other chronic conditions and disease. Which is why celiac disease manifests in so man different ways. It may be the root cause of skin rashes and dermatitis. It may be the root cause of lupus and other autoimmune disorders. It may be the root cause of headaches and dental abnormalities. It may be the root cause of gas that smells so bad it will clear a room.
So, how do you know if you have celiac disease? You can a.) Get a genetic test to see if you carry the genes for celiac (if you don’t then you don’t have it) b.) Get your blood or stool tested for specific antibodies (have your doctor order a Transglutaminase Assay Panel) c.) Have a biopsy of your small intestine to see if there is damage consistent with celiac disease.
But, before you get tested: Do not stop eating gluten. The blood, stool, and biopsy
tests won’t be as accurate if you do.
Why should you get tested? Here are the top 5 reasons:
1. Celiac disease is much more common than you think. Recent research discovered that 1 in every 133 people has celiac disease. It’s the most common disease that remains undiagnosed in the United States. It’s not a rarity.
2. You have an autoimmune disorder or have a family member with celiac or another autoimmune disorder: Autoimmune conditions tend to run in families. One of the reasons my naturopath ordered testing for me was because my grandmother had lupus. If someone in your family has celiac disease, it’s time to get tested.
3. You are already gluten intolerant. Many people who discovered that they couldn’t handle gluten, dropped eating it before they got tested and now the tests aren’t accurate. Except … for the genetic test. You can find out. And if it’s in your genes, your family members may need to know.
4. You need a better reason to not “cheat” with gluten. I can’t tell you how many people tell me that they can just have a little bit of gluten now and then because they are just gluten-intolerant (not celiac). But how do they know that cheating won’t actually lead to the disease manifesting? It’s entirely possible that they could carry the gene for the disease and need to stop cheating in order to make sure that they keep a healthy digestive system.
5. You’re sick and you don’t know why. Nearly 350 symptoms are related to grain sensitivities. As the infographic from GlutenDude shows, many of the symptoms have nothing to do with digestive problems. It’s a simple blood test to find out. Go get it done!
Janelle Holden is president and founder of BodyMindLove coaching where she helps people with food sensitivities and celiac disease grab control of their diets and their lives. She helps people fall in love with health and wellness so that they can look and feel their best. Her weekly eZine goes out to hundreds of subscribers. If you are ready to take your body and your life to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://janelleholden.com.
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