THE SCIENCE

My younger sister was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was three years old and has been on a gluten free diet ever since. I have always enjoyed eating wheat-based everything, but now don’t seem to feel so well afterwards. I am in the bathroom a lot, tired all the time, and my joints hurt. Maybe I am not sick enough to see a doctor, but could I have celiac disease like my sister?

Celia, 27

  • Celiac disease can present in its “classic” form with GI symptoms alone, or in “atypical” form masquerading as multiple different illnesses including thyrodititis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromylagia and more.
  • The common denominator is bodily inflammation caused by a self-directed immune system attack against gluten in individuals who are positive for the HLA-DQ2 and/or DQ8 genes. Gluten is a difficult to digest protein found in wheat, rye, and barley which persists in the gut long enough to cause inflammation in DQ2/DQ8 positive individuals.
  • Symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac disease present on a spectrum of risk determined by each individual’s combination of inherited genes, diet, and environmental factors. DQ2/DQ8 negative Individuals who are gluten intolerant may be suffering from non-celiac gluten intolerance or a gluten allergy.

THE SIGNS

“I don’t know what is wrong with me! I used to be so happy and healthy but now my hair is falling out, I am tired a lot, and my stomach is constantly upset. My doctor has told me I have anxiety and depression and wants to give me some medicine. I don’t want to take antidepressants because I don’t think that’s really my problem. What kind of signs and symptoms can people get from eating gluten?”

Scarlett, 19

In its “classic” form, GI symptoms predominate and can include:

 

  • Bloating, gas, and/or abdominal pain
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Discolored teeth
  • Malabsorption
  • Nutritional deficiencies

In its “atypical” presentation, multi-system symptoms include:

  • Fatigue, depression
  • Early onset or unusually severe osteoperosis
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Itchy skin rash, hair loss, dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Short stature
  • Unexplained fertility issues
  • Unexplained liver test abnormalities

For more information visit: http://beyondceliac.org

THE STATS

“It’s so weird. My 15 year old brother was just diagnosed with celiac disease after ending up in the ER with severe diarrhea and dehydration. Now I think I might be starting to have some of the same symptoms! They said he had a positive biopsy, positive antibodies, and positive genetics. Should I be tested also and is there a painless way? I hate needles!”

Marcus, 19

• Celiac disease is a silent epidemic affecting approximately 1% of the world’s population.

• Virtually 100% of individuals with antibody positive celiac disease will be genetically positive for HLA-DQ2 and/or DQ8 genes.

Absence of these genes carries a negative predictive value of 99% for celiac disease.

• Celiac disease risk is increased 10-15% for individuals with a first-degree celiac relative.

• An estimated 85% of celiacs have never received the correct diagnosis.

• Diagnostic delays lead to increase complications such as:

• Anemia, infertility, other autoimmune diseases, vitamin deficiencies and more.

• An estimated 30% of people carry the celiac risk genes.