What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder. People with Celiac Disease can’t ingest gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. The ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestines. The only cure is to adhere to a strict gluten free diet. It’s estimated that 1 in 133 Americans has Celiac Disease.
The first step to diagnosing Celiac Disease is blood work. Doctors test your Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (tTG-IgA) level. When Sami was diagnosed her level was over 200. The normal range being 0 – 20. If blood work comes back positive, like it did in our case, they then do a biopsy of the lining of the small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.
What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease?
People have often asked me, what are Celiac Disease symptoms in children and are they the same as Celiac Disease symptoms in adults? The truth is, like anything else, symptoms vary from person to person. One person might have abdominal pain and constipation while another has headaches and joint pain. Regardless of the symptoms, the damage it causes is the same and if left untreated can cause even more serious health problems, such as other autoimmune diseases. The Celiac Disease Foundation is an excellent resource, they list out all the possible symptoms https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/celiacdiseasesymptoms/
The Celiac Disease Foundation also has a symptoms and conditions checklist that you can print off and take to your doctor. https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/resources/checklist/ The most important thing is if you have any of these symptoms on a regular basis, please go get tested. Remember, the first step is a conversation with your doctor and some simple blood work.
Back when Sami was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it was so hard to determine what was in fact gluten free. The term gluten free wasn’t regulated. That is, until August of 2013, the FDA issued a regulation that defined the term “gluten-free” for food labeling. https://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/guidancedocumentsregulatoryinformation/allergens/ucm367654.htm
There’s several Celiac Research Centers. Check back often as I’ll be posting any updated research as I become aware of it. For now, check out the latest regarding CeliAction, the celiac disease drug trial. This information comes from Beyond Celiac Disease, formerly the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. https://www.beyondceliac.org/research-news/View-Research-News/1394/postid–75508/
Check out the latest news regarding celiac disease research here!