Wednesday, May 25, 2016

What is Celiac Disease?


May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month.  In honor of that, I asked my sister-in-law, Sharalyn to write a post about Celiac Disease.  Sharalyn was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2012 and blogs at The Gluten Free Momma.  Her blog is full of useful tips, reviews, and information about living with Celiac Disease.

What is Celiac Disease? Learn the signs and symptoms.
Sharalyn with her husband and kids

Celiacs is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system builds antibodies that attack the lining of the small intestine when gluten is consumed.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. 



What is Celiac Disease? Learn the signs and symptoms.

We all have "villi" that line our intestines that looks similar to a shaggy rug. Each one of the villi has its own unique job to do, and each one helps us absorb a certain nutrient. If someone with Celiac Disease consumes gluten, the small intestines will become inflamed and the villi will be damaged/worn down. Over time this can result in malnutrition, other diseases, and even death

What is Celiac Disease? Learn the signs and symptoms.
Illustration of villi in the small intestines

It is estimated that 1 in 133 people have Celiac Disease or CD, and 83% of people who are affected are either undiagnosed or mis-diagnosed.

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It is estimated that 1 in 133 people have #CeliacDisease. Learn more at http://bit.ly/1YZtlrj 
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There is no known cure for CD.  The symptoms can be treated and the intestines healed by adhering to a STRICT gluten free diet. 

There are 300 known Celiac symptoms but here are a few of the more common ones: 
  • Fatigue 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Diarrhea/Constipation 
  • Nausea 
  • Gas/indigestion 
  • Malnutrition 
  • Skin rash 
  • Headaches 
  • Hair loss 
  • Weight loss/gain 
  • Failure to thrive in children
  • Missed periods/miscarriages 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Joint pain 
  • Bone density loss 
  • Foggy brain 
  • Depression/Anxiety 
Some people with CD don't have any symptoms at all.  Women are more likely to present noticeable symptoms while men are more likely to have very few or no symptoms. 

It's not easy having CD. I was diagnosed in October 2012, and it changed my whole life. I used to be able to go to the mall and order a pretzel with cheese or eat breaded shrimp, pizza, donuts, pasta, etc. But I was plagued with constipation, water retention, and weight I couldn't seem to loose, no matter how hard I tried.

My appearance and inability to loose weight always made me self-conscious, and I found it difficult to accept myself. As a teenager, I struggled with depression and anxiety and found it very difficult to concentrate in school. It was hard to retain information, and I was sent to special ed. I was always tired and suffered from periodic nausea.



What is Celiac Disease? Learn the signs and symptoms.

When I started having kids, my body began showing more symptoms of CD. I had severe abdominal pain that would cause me to curl up on the couch in the fetal position. At first the pain would occur once a month around my period, but then it started happening more frequently. I knew something was wrong, but I didn't want to face the reality by going to the doctor.

One day while home alone with the kids, my stomach pain came back, only this time it was unbearable. I could hardly make it from the kitchen to the living room, let alone call my mother on my phone. I didn't know what was going on, and I seriously thought I was dying. The intense pain I felt in my stomach was constant. It felt like my intestines were twisting and ripping apart. I realized that I couldn't ignore this pain any longer.   

I needed to go see a doctor right away.

What is Celiac Disease? Learn the signs and symptoms.
When I spoke to my doctor about the symptoms I was having, he thought it was probably food related. My mom had suggested that I ask my doctor to check me for CD because she had recently heard about it. My doctor ordered the Tissue Transglutaminase (tTG), antibody, and IgA test. The test came back positive. It was such a huge shock for me. I was scared and depressed.  What did this mean for me?  Was I going to die? Questions flooded my mind.

The doctor told me to immediately go on a gluten free diet. Unfortunately, I wasn't given very much information to start my new diet.

I would be lying to you if I told you that my first experience with gluten free food was a good one. I went out and bought a few items despite my lack of knowledge about which ones would be good. I thought that rice bread would be okay, but when I bit into it, it tasted like chewed up medicine. "If this is how disgusting my food is going to be for the rest of my life, I don't know how I'm going to deal with it." I thought. But I'm determined, and I decided to go on a search for better tasting gluten free food


I started a blog called "The Gluten Free Momma" where I help educate those who were recently diagnosed with CD and those who are gluten free for other reasons. On my blog, you will find product reviews  for everything from gluten free condiments to frozen meals. I even have restaurant reviews.

I may have Celiac Disease but Celiac Disease does not have me. I can still enjoy the same foods everyone else does, they may just be a little different and cost a bit more. 


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I may have #CeliacDisease but Celiac Disease does not have me. Learn more at http://bit.ly/1YZtlrj 
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CD is a serious disease that cannot be ignored. If you or someone you know suffers from any of the symptoms above, talk to your doctor. It could save a life. And remember, if the test comes back positive, it's not the end. It's just the beginning of a new healthy adventure.

-Sharalyn
 
This post is linked up at: 1.
A Wise Woman Builds Her Home 2. Marilyn's Treats 3. You're Sew Trendy 4. Holly McBerty 5. Grammie Time 6. Katherine's Corner 7. The Deliberate Mom 8. You Are a Daisy 9. Cord of 6   10. A Bountiful Love 11. Being Fibro Mom 12. Love That Max 13. Create With Joy 14. A Different Dream

27 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this information. I have not been diagnosed but have had two readings of possibly. Later in June, they will be running another test. For some reason the blood test is showing a borderline case so they are not calling me a CD yet. I will check in on your website too.

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    1. I believe that the definitive test is an endoscopy. I hope the doctors figure it out for you!

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  2. What great information! It seems like people with CD or gluten intolerance are on the rise. Fortunately, there are great resources available...like this article. Thanks for linking to Waiting on...Wednesday.

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    1. I agree and I suspect it may have something to do with our food being geneticially engineered which means that our bodies don't always tolerate it.

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  3. This great information. Thank you for sharing your work with #WonderfulWednesday!

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    1. You're welcome! I'm glad Sharalyn agreed to guest post for me and spread awareness for Celiac Disease!

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  5. I heard that it can also account for some people having unexplained body odor. Have you heard of this?

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    1. I've heard of it, but don't know if there's actually a connection or not.

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  6. My husband and I are both coeliac, as is his brother. We are closely monitoring the kids but they seem to be okay at the moment. It was a huge adjustment at first but I'm used to it now. I had few symptoms but I was anaemic and my blood test came up with antibodies and a gastroscopy confirmed it. It can be tough to find GF food when out and about but it's slowly getting more known and accepted. Thanks so much for your blog - I'm off to check it out now!

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    1. My oldest daughter was gluten free for a few years due to food allergies and there weren't that many GF options at the time. As more people are gaining awareness of Celiac Disease, the options seem to be growing.

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  7. Great post! Very informative and easy to follow. My husband and I follow a GF diet because we both have noticeable symptoms, though we have never been officially tested.

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    1. Just remember that if you ever decide to get tested, you'll need to eat gluten again!

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  8. i was talking to a co-worker yesterday who has celiac disease and all she went through just to find out. this is such good information to have/know.

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    1. Yes, it really is! Both for people with CD and those of us who don't, so we can understand it better.

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  9. Awesome information, thank you! I have a friend with celiac and I will pass this on to her!

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    1. I'm so glad you found this useful! Sharalyn has really done a lot of research on Celiac Disease!

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  10. Always makes me happy to see people using Celiac Awareness Month to spread knowledge! Thanks for spreading the word - I love Gluten Free Mama's blog! :)

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    1. She has a great blog, doesn't she? (Hey Sharalyn, you should post more!! lol)

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  11. Thank you for sharing this with Thursday Favorite Things. I too have Celiac Disease. The worst thing for me is going out to eat. Cross contamination is a fear and it happens frequently so I don't eat out unless there is no other option available to me. Having dinner at someones home is something I avoid too. No matter how hard people try to fix something I'm able to eat there are so many hidden areas of gluten down to the very pans used to cook my food separately. :-( It's an awful feeling to say thank you, you're efforts are appreciated, but I can't eat what you made because there is dairy in it or that seasoning has gluten in it.

    It's much easier to have people over to my home and set up a small table for them to keep a dish they brought to share.

    It's always nice to meet other people that understand this horrible affliction and the impact it really has on our lives.

    Olivia
    Reinvented Collection

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    1. Sharalyn has the same problem with eating out or at other people's homes. Since she was diagnosed, our family tries to keep our get-together gluten free so she can eat without worry.

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  12. Congratulations! Your post was my feature pick from my Commenters at #WonderfulWednesday this week. Visit me on Tuesday evening and to see your feature and pick up your badge! I invite you to leave more links to be shared and commented upon.

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    1. Thank you so much!! I'm so glad Sharalyn and I could help spread awareness for Celiac Disease.

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  13. I knew Celiac Disease was miserable with symptoms, but I didn't realize it had so many symptoms. I was a nanny years ago, and the lady I worked for was sick all the time with unknown reasons. Just before I left that job, she was diagnosed with CD. I helped her clear out her kitchen with al the bad foods as she explained what it was and what it was doing to her body. I think we removed every bit of food from her house. It was sad to have to be so cautious, but at the same time I was glad she knew what was going on so she could get well again.

    Thank you for sharing important information because making people informed is important in healing.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! You're right, it's very important to keep people informed and aware of Celiac Disease!

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  15. Thank you for all the wonderful replies.

    Check out my facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/simplifyinggutenfree/

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Thank you for your comment! I read and try to reply to every one :)