Going gluten free is not a trend! It is a permanent lifestyle where even small amounts of gluten exposure can cause problems, so it should be taken very seriously.
Some basic info:
The American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA) explains that there is a difference between Celiac Disease, wheat allergy and gluten intolerance/sensitivity and that all three are “treated similarly, in that patients with these conditions must remove wheat from their diet. It is important to note, however, that there is a difference between these three medical problems. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, where the body’s immune system starts attacking normal tissue, such as intestinal tissue, in response to eating gluten. Because of this, people with celiac disease are at risk for malabsorption of food, which cause nutritional deficiencies and may result in conditions such as iron deficiency anemia, osteopenia, and osteoporosis. Persons with a wheat allergy or gluten-intolerance usually do not have severe intestinal damage, and therefore are not at risk for these nutritional deficiencies. They also are not at increased risk of developing other autoimmune conditions.”
The ACDA also explains a bit about the potential risks with Celiac vs. allergy or intolerance/sensitivity “celiac disease involves the activation of a particular type of white blood cell, the T lymphocyte, as well as other parts of the immune system, which may increase the risk of developing GI cancers, in particular lymphomas, in persons with celiac disease. Since food allergies and intolerances do not involve this particular immune system pathway, these patients are not at increased risk for these cancers.”
Keep in mind that unlike a food allergy or food intolerance, celiac disease is an inherited condition. This means family members may have it, too. If someone in your family is diagnosed, ACDA recommends that first degree relatives (parents, children, siblings) are screened as well.
Have you ever wondered if you were gluten intolerant?
If you think you might have Ceiliac Disease, have a wheat allergy or have gluten sensitivity/intolerance you need to go to a specialist. However, if you can’t afford it at this time, you can try a quick self test that could help determine if gluten could be your problem.
This is a simple test that I have adapted from one found at Glutenology.net.
Sensitivity to Gluten Self Test
Check the symptoms you are experiencing that you can’t attribute to legitimate conditions.
For example: if you have asthma that you developed from working with chemicals or in a mine, do not check it as that can be clearly attributed to that environment. However, if you have asthma and have not been exposed to anything where you would develop it, check it.
One more example, if you have diarrhea because you have a virus or ate sushi out of a vendors trunk, do not check it. However, if you have diarrhea often and can’t attribute it to anything else then check it.
- Craving baked goods (cake, cookies, brownies)
- Craving high sugar foods
- Frequent intestinal bloating or gas especially after eating
- IBS – irritable bowel syndrome
- Acid reflux – GERD (aka heartburn)
- Frequent nausea and or vomiting
- Difficulty gaining weight (children under the growth curve)
- Iron deficiency anemia
Head &Nervous System:
- Frequent headaches
- Sinus congestion
- Migraine Headaches
- Poor memory
- Difficulty recalling words
- Brain fog
- Poor concentration
- Been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD
- Suffer with frequent vertigo (dizziness)
- Irrational irritability
- Mood swings
- Restless leg syndrome
- Diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s
Muscle and Joint:
- Frequent joint pains with or without activity
- Chronic muscle aches
- Migrating joint pain (without injury)
- Frequent muscle spasms (especially in the legs)
- Diagnosed with Fibromyalgia
- Diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis (RA, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, reactive arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Sjogren’s)
- Bone pain
- Growing pains
- Osteoporosis or osteopenia
- Inability to lose weight
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- History of miscarriage or spontaneous abortion
- Menstrual problems – PMS
- Thyroid disease
- Diagnosis of hyperprolactinemia
- Diagnosis of Diabetes (type I or type II)
- PCOS (polycystic ovary disease)
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Chronic respiratory infections
- Vaginal, oral, or nail bed yeast infections
- Fever blisters or mouth ulcers
- Skin rash
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis**
Other Internal Diseases/Problems:
- Gall bladder problems
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Non alcoholic fatty liver
- Autoimmune hepatitis
- Platelet disorders
The results are pretty simple. If you have checked more than 8 of these problems, you may want to consider that you have gluten intolerance, especially if you have checked several of the problems listed in red. In particular, dermatitis herpetiformis which is a skin condition known to be caused by gluten.
The above list is only some of the symptoms of gluten intolerance/sensitivity. There are 200-300 symptoms. From this list, the symptoms listed in black can be caused by gluten intolerance. The symptoms in red are often mis-diagnosed conditions that could be caused by gluten intolerance.
When I did this test myself, I checked off TWENTY FOUR of the symptoms listed above, many of which were red. I had been mis-diagnosed with several different things and was frustrated as to why the medicines they were giving me were not working (in addition to causing other problems). Once I went gluten free, I eliminated about 18 of these symptoms. Eighteen! I feel better than I have in years. True story.
Keep in mind I am not a doctor and am not dispensing medical advise. I am a self-diagnosed, gluten-intolerant woman who has happily experienced the benefit of going gluten free. To read more about my story click HERE. If you have checked off a whole bunch of symptoms and are willing to consider that you may have an issue with gluten, please get to a doctor (one who is experienced with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity/intolerance) soon and get yourself checked out.
If you, for whatever reason, are unable to get to a doctor at this time and think you may have a problem with gluten – do a gluten-free trial to see if it makes a difference. Check out other areas of my website for more information, or do a search online to get more information about how to start a trial. Then get yourself to a specialist as soon as you can. The key to your feeling better may be as simple as eliminating this from your diet!!
Live and LOVE gluten free!