Saturday, November 15, 2014

Think Twice Before Ignoring Your Gluten Issues

How many of you out there have been diagnosed with Celiac disease and are asymptomatic? Are you eating gluten-free? How many of you suspect you may have Celiac disease but have not been diagnosed yet?

I know several people who have Celiac disease and are asymptomatic. This may sound like a good thing but it can lead to serious health issues. Being vigilant with a gluten-free diet when a person does not notice that they are reacting when eating gluten can be difficult. 

I have a friend who was diagnosed with Celiac disease 10 years ago. She is asymptomatic so she did not bother to purchase an additional set of pots and pans etc., to prevent cross contamination. She shares her kitchen with gluten eating people and was not as careful as she could have been about cross contamination. 7 years later she had another endoscopy and colonoscopy done because her iron count was very low. Though she was fairly strict with her gluten-free diet there was noticeable villi damage in her small intestine. The doctor also contribute a few of the other medical issues she had been noticing to her being exposed to cross contamination of gluten.

In the New York Times Magazine section of Sunday, August 17, 2014 paper, there is a powerful article about a man who was suffering from a myriad of symptoms such as extreme weight loss, hair loss on his legs, weakness of the arms and legs, etc. He had been diagnosed with Celiac disease years before but he was asymptomatic and therefore did not follow a gluten-free diet. 

After months of doctors and testing, this man finally was sent to a neurologist because he was falling down and the weakness in his limbs was getting worse. The neurologist ordered 2 additional tests. One to eliminate a type of cancer and the other to check for low copper counts.    

The mans copper counts came back very low. According to this article, 'Without copper, the body can't make blood, nerves or muscle." Now they knew what was causing the symptoms BUT what caused the low copper counts.

You got it, Celiac disease!

Celiac Disease: Villi Damage: Photo by

" Celiac disease (CD) is also known as Celiac Sprue or Gluten-Sensitive Enteropathy. It is an autoimmune disease which is genetic and therefore an inherited disease. It affects people
of all ages and it is believed that approximately 1 in 133 people have Celiac disease, yet
most are undiagnosed. When gluten is eaten, the small intestine becomes damaged.
The villi are pushed down by the gluten, creating an environment that is unable to
absorb nutrients.
There are over 300 registered symptoms for Celiac. The most common
symptoms are diarrhea, bloating, anemia, chronic fatigue, weakness, bone pain, weight
loss and muscle cramps. It was once thought that Celiac’s only affected the small intestine,
but it is now known that it can cause medical issues." (Gluten-Free Living 101by Marian Z Geringer)

The damage that Celiac disease can cause to the small intestine, can prevent the absorption  of nutrients such as iron, vitamin B 12 and copper. 

This man was put in the hospital for treatment and then told to be on a gluten-free diet. "within two months, he regained his weight and part of his strength. The doctors told him it would take three months for every month he was sick to get back to his normal strength."(NY Times).

Please think twice about the food decisions you make. Every bite counts.

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