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Celiac Disease or Gluten Allergy: Who Does It Affect and How Can You Detect It?

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The first thing to understand is Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. It isn’t in your mind and currently there is no cure for it. All it requires is for the person who has Celiac Disease needs to lead a 100 percent Gluten Free Diet.

I remember when Mannat was diagnosed zillions of friends and family told me it’s in my mind and he’ll get out of it just keep giving him gluten. Try homeopathy, naturopathy, reiki and the list is super long even coffee future tellers. Lack of knowledge is the biggest danger for a parent or an adult who has Celiac Disease. Remember awareness and knowledge is the best way to handle any problem and closing your eyes/denial is the worst

To be able to understand it Celiac Disease we must understand what is autoimmune disease?

An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, decides your healthy cells are foreign. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy cells. Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue.

Currently they are 80different types of autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are heredity and run in the family. It is possible to have more than one autoimmune disease.

Some of these diseases are

  • Haematoid arthritis: inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues

  • Systemic Lupus erythematosus: affects skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs

  • Celiac sprue disease: a reaction to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine

  • Pernicious Anaemia: decrease in red blood cells caused by inability to absorb vitamin B-12

  • Vitiligo: white patches on the skin caused by loss of pigment

  • Scleroderma: a connective tissue disease that causes changes in skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs

  • Psoriasis: a skin condition that causes redness and irritation as well as thick, flaky, silver-white patches

  • Inflammatory bowel diseases: a group of inflammatory diseases of the colon and small intestine

  • Hashimoto’s disease: inflammation of the thyroid gland

  • Addison’s disease: adrenal hormone insufficiency

  • Graves’ disease: overactive thyroid gland, reactive arthritis: inflammation of joints, urethra, and eyes; may cause sores on the skin and mucus membranes

  • Sjogren's syndrome: destroys the glands that produce tears and saliva causing dry eyes and mouth; may affect kidneys and lungs

  • Type 1 Diabetes: destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas

To make it simple if your family has any of these 80 different types of autoimmune diseases you could get anyone of them and Celiac Disease is one of them.

Celiac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medicines that contain gluten. Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional serious health problems. These include the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash), anaemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, short stature, and intestinal cancers.

Celiac Disease, is a chronic autoimmune disease, which means that you cannot “grow out” of it, the solution is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. People living gluten-free must avoid foods with wheat, rye and barley, such as bread and beer. Ingesting small amounts of gluten, like crumbs from a cutting board or toaster, can trigger small intestine damage.

Diagnoses of Celiac Disease are very tough and some of the common symptoms are gas bloating, change in bowel movements, weight loss, feeling tired and weakness.

Early diagnoses is a blessing, when Mannat was diagnosed he was only 5 and some of the symptoms were that his shoe size didn’t increase through the year (normally every kids shoe size changes every 3 months), he was biting his nails, was going to the pot 3-4 times a day, he was gaining height but his weight hadn’t increased in a whole year. The doctor had de-wormed him 3 times and after that I was advised the blood tests.

Celiac Disease testing requires several serologic (blood) tests but the most commonly used is called a tags (a tissue transglutaminase)-IgA ( measures antibodies in the blood) test. If test results suggest celiac disease, your doctor will recommend a biopsy of your small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.

IMPORTANT:  You must NOT be on a gluten-free diet.  If you are on a gluten-free diet, CDF’s medical experts recommend a “Gluten Challenge” – daily consumption of gluten equivalent to at least 4 slices of bread for one to three months followed by an endoscopic biopsy with no serology testing.

I would like to end by saying going gluten free to lose weight suggested by many nutritionists isn’t the best way forward. Yes! Cutting down on gluten is good for all.

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