4 Reasons You Want to Know if You have Celiac Disease
If I stop eating gluten and feel better, why would I bother being tested for Celiac disease? Isn’t that just a way for the medical community to get more money from me?
I hear these questions often from readers. To help answer them, these 4 Reasons You May Want to Know if You have Celiac Disease may come in handy.
1. CD is an autoimmune disease.
That means the body attacks “self” tissue. In CD, that self tissue is the lining of the small intestine. This occurs each time gluten is consumed in individuals with CD.
Having one autoimmune disease puts us at risk for others (i.e, type I diabetes or autoimmune thyroid disease).
When our immune system is not functioning properly, our overall health suffers. For example, over time, what once was a minor (and silent) nutrient deficiency (calcium, vitamin D) due to poor nutrient absorption through a gluten-damaged gut could turn into severe osteoporosis which may not be discovered until we break a bone. (I actually hear this scenario often from readers!).
2. CD is genetic.
For individuals with children, if you have CD, there is a chance they will either have it or develop it over time.
Early detection is extremely beneficial for overall long-term health when it comes to CD. So many problems (like dental issues) can be avoided entirely.
This is why medical professionals recommend ALL first degree relatives (sibling, children, parents) of anyone with CD be tested, even if no symptoms are present.
3. Symptom-free does not mean CD-free.
Most individuals with CD have no outward (recognizable) symptoms.
Fatigue, depression, mouth sores, weak tooth enamel, migraine headaches. These are all symptoms of CD; however, most people would never see them as a red flag for a “gut disease”.
“Most people” includes some doctors, too. That’s not bashing our medical professionals. It is a fact that food-related illness is not on the top of the roster when it comes to med school lesson plans.
If you present with fatigue or depression, you’re likely to get an antidepressant drug.
If you have dental issues, you’re probably going to your dentist, not your family doctor. The dentist is unlikely to refer you for CD testing.
(With CD awareness on the rise, some doctors and dentists do notice these symptoms and point them out, but in most cases, dental health and general health are treated apart from one another.)
4. Gluten sensitivity (also called “gluten intolerance”) cannot be diagnosed without first ruling out CD.
Ruling out CD is important for several reasons.
For those of us with CD, our small intestine is damaged each time we ingest gluten (that autoimmune response mentioned earlier). This leads to an increased risk of certain diseases (like cardiac disease) and cancers. This is in addition to the increased risk for other autoimmune diseases mentioned earlier.