Thursday, April 03, 2008

Does your body go against the grain?

Celiac disease is an inherited intolerance to gluten. For people with this condition, eating gluten can trigger immune system attacks that may ravage the lining of the small intestine. Then the injured intestine can’t adequately absorb vital nutrients (such as iron, calcium, and vitamin D). Untreated Celiac disease can lead to iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, lactose intolerance and MANY other problems.
Celiac disease was once thought to be rare, but experts now estimate that in the United States, about 1 in 133 people.
Celiac disease often goes undiagnosed because its classic symptoms resemble those of other common ailments, such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance. This helps to explain why it takes an average of 11 years to be diagnosed with Celiac disease after the symptoms first appear. Many people assume that the disease is diagnosed as soon as a child starts eating foods that contain gluten, but that’s not the case. Celiac disease can develop at any time in life, including old age. The average age at diagnosis is 46; about 20% of cases are diagnosed after age 60.
In addition to anemia and osteoporosis, Celiac disease is associated with type 1 diabetes, thyroid problems, and dermatitis herpetiformis, a painful skin condition that involves itchy blisters on the elbows and knees.
The good news is that the only treatment for Celiac disease — a gluten-free diet — starts to work within days and the intestines usually heals with in six months. The bad news is in addition to giving up your favorite foods you need to read the labels on EVERYTHING. Anything that goes in, on, or near your mouth must be gluten-free... medications, vitamins, personal care products, such as lipstick, toothpaste, and mouthwash, and in the glues on envelopes and stamps.

Why you ask am I posting this?
Well it has been weighing heavy on me for a LONG time. All 3 of my children and myself show multiple symptoms that this may be a problem for us. C has had some IgA testing (came back negative). I remember when his results came in being so relieved that "We" did not need to start this restrictive diet only later to learn that the negative test does not exclude the possibility any more than the fact that our parents have never been diagnosed excludes it:-(
So the drama continues... to go Gluten Free or not?
Have any of you tried it with out an official diagnosis? Did it make a great impact on your symptoms?

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