Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I am Celiac, Are you Gluten-Intolerant?

There is so much contiversy about being Gluten-Intolerant or Gluten-Free today!  Sometimes there is just down right intolerance (I hate that word but, use it here) for those of us who have Celiac Disease or who are truly Gluten-Intolerant.

There seems to be a group of people who have made living Gluten-Free a new fad diet because they believe it will cause them to loose weight.  From an Agricultural stand point ANYTIME you remove grain from the diet you WILL LOSE WEIGHT.  Some of us just happen to get REALLY sick when we consume gluten in any form.  Some of us are more sensitive than others but, we all get sick in one way or another.  So don't look at me strange like you are thinking, ya right or laugh at me or give me gluten anyway and just not tell me until you've been as sick as I have been.  Before my diagnosis I thought I was dying.  For over five years I was horribly sick and had become malnourished and anemic.

The Doctor who finally caught my disease and told me to "go gluten-free and see what happens", is a saint in my book even though I don't agree with her on everything.  In three days my intestinal issues stopped.  The very intestinal issues I'd had in a large way for five years.  The was six months ago, now I'm starting to heal and feel better every day as long as no one accidental slips me the tiniest bit of gluten.  I'm not going to go back on gluten for 3 months to have 'the tests'.  I don't want to be that sick again.

I just purchased a copy of LIVING WELL WITHOUT WHEAT, THE GLUTEN-FREE GOURMET by Bette Hagman.  I've read lots of articles and been to lots of websites (with varying degrees of truth) but the introductory pages of this book helped me more than any other.

I'm going to quote from the FORWARD by Eugene I. Winkelman, M.D. , Emeritus Physician, Department of Gastroenterology,  The Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

""If the patient can be cured at all, it must be by means of diet."  Not a surprising statement when it is recognized that dietary management was the primary and often sole treatment of gastrointestinal disorders 110 years ago; however, the author, Samuel Gee, an English physician, also specified that "the allowance of farinaceous [Starchy} foods must be small."  His treatise "On the Coeliac Affection," published in 1888, described and discussed sprue in such an incisive, accurate manner that the article becamse a classic example of medical writing.  Unfortunately, another century passed before clinical observation and application of the developing scientific method eventually produced the answer to the myriad ills of celiac disease, idopathic steatorrhea, nontropical sprue, adult celiac disease, gluten-induced enteropathy, all of which are now regarded as synonymous with cealiac sprue.

Fifty years ago celiac disease was known only as a childhood disease characterized by symptoms of weight loss, malnutrition, and complaints of a voluminous, foul diarrhea.  Those of us in medical school in the 1940's and early '50's remember it as one that was not readily understood but, for some unknown reason, was treated with a diet consisting manly of bananas.  It was hard to foresee that within the next few years its treatment would radically change, the intestinal pathology would be described, and its specific cause would be identified.  Since celiac disease was a rarity in the United States, it did not create great interest, so Europe where it was a more common problem, became the point of  investigation from which came the knowledge regarding the diet and pathology leading to advancements in diagnosis and treatment.

The anatomich changes that typified celiac disease were first described on tissue samples from the small intestine obtained, the presence of typical pathology and a clinical response to the diets are unequivocal proof of the disease.

Celiac disease may be present without diarrhea, but it may announce itself as a symptom of the vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies that result from malabsorption.  The most common of these are anemia, due to decreased iron, folic acid uptake, bone disease and/or Vitamin D.....There is a more subtle association inparients with other diseases; that is dermatitis, insulin=dependent diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, growth retardation, infertility in both men and women, increased enamel defects,,,oral ulcerations....celiac disease can occur in those who are sixty years of age or older (as well as infants) and....often coexist with other autoimmune diseases......Celiac diseas is obviously a much more common disease than reported previously, most likely due to a failure to present, a dictum that for celiacs life without gluten is a lifelong commitment. 

Bette Hagman in this book makes the celiac's life a little easier and eating more exciting....these books simplified life for Me...who can now confidently recommend her writings rather than explain the dreaded dietary list....of what you can and cannot eat."

Ms Hagman goes on the say, "That (it) is now advised for all first- and second-degree relatives of celiaces (to test for Celiac Disease), for preliminary findings show that approximately 5.7 percent of first-degree relatives and 3.1 second-degree relatives will test positive for the disease." 

Be kind to someone with Celiac or Gluten-Intolerance today!

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