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What causes celiac disease?

The destruction of the inner lining of the small intestine in celiac disease is caused by an immunological (allergic) reaction to gluten in the diet that inflames and destroys the inner lining of the small intestine. There is evidence that this reaction is partially genetic and inherited. Thus, approximately 10% of first-degree relatives (parents, siblings or children) of individuals with celiac disease also will have celiac disease. In addition, in approximately 30% of fraternal twins and 70% of identical twins, both twins will have celiac disease. Finally, certain genes have been found to be more common among individuals with celiac disease than among individuals without celiac disease.

The article goes on to describe signs and symptoms, etc. It's rather lengthy, about 12 pages, but what I thought was interesting is that it's (supposedly) from a medical website ( http://www.medicinenet.com/celiac_disease/page2.htm ), yet it refers to the immunological reaction as an allergic reaction. I am sort of interpreting this as saying that Celiac Disease is an allergy to gluten that manifests itself ONLY in the intestines, and not the rest of the body. I always read on the forums that celiac disease is autoimmune, not allergy, and to me, this is implying that they are the same thing. Am I missing something? If someone can interpret allergy vs. autoimmune in laymen's terms, that'd be great.

Thoughts?

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    • Thankyou both! I was wondering if my high levels left much doubt on the diagnosis. I don't see the GI until the 15th Sep and I don't think I can stand to eat gluten in that time. If he tells me to I will do so after then. After 25 years of symptoms I don't think there is much chance of healing my bowel In a couple of weeks. I'm actually terrified of the damage they might find. But I think I will need the endo since there may be other things going on with me. So great they didn't put your son through the biopsy! Once I have a formal diagnosis I have my kids to worry about also. I can't even stand the thought of my daughter having a blood test. I think she would need to be sedated as she is so fearful and pain sensitive. My son is not yet 2 so I don't think they will test him. I'm feeling so off at the moment. I think I have some anxiety and reflux going on complicating things quite a bit.
    • My son's antibodies were 300. Based on his extremely high levels, his pediatric GI suggested genetic testing instead of the biopsy. Genetic testing can't diagnose celiac on its own but combined with such high levels, the gi dr was confident a positive genetic test would confidently diagnose celiac. He warned that biopsies are small snapshots of the intestine and can miss damage. He said this is an approach used very often in Europe but not as much in the US. What sold me on that approach was the ability to put my son directly on a gluten free diet instead of waiting three weeks for the biopsy, during which time he would continue to eat gluten and feel terrible. I'm not sure if this is more common with younger patients though (our son is two), based on the idea that he's had less time to inflict damage that would show in a biopsy? We are very happy that we immediately started the gluten free diet and chose the genetic testing. Our son got the proper diagnosis and his recent number shows a drop to 71 after only 4.5 months gluten free! Not sure if this helps. Good luck and I hope you feel better soon!
    • We have been off gluten for a while now, and symptoms return when I've allowed gluten full meals… so something still isn't sitting right with me.  Checking with her doc about seeing a pediactric GI although I'm not sure how long that will take since we live in small town America. I know she didn't get at least one of the recommended full panel tests but maybe two, can someone help clarify, or is she missing two? DGP for sure and possibly EMA? And if I understand what I'm reading in other posts that the DGP can be more accurate? Thanks Her blood panel results: Ttg ab iga <.5u/ml ttg igg <.8u/ml aga ab iga <.2 u/ml aga an igg <.7u/ml iga 61mg/dL  
    • I was tested for the full panel, I believe. I had normal values for t-transglutaminase (ttg) igg,t-transglutaminase (ttg) iga, deamidated gliadin abs igg, deamidated gliadin abs iga, and immunoglobulin a qn serum.  
    • Going gluten free may be beneficial if you're among the roughly 10 percent of people who suffer from celiac disease, a genetic immune disorder, ... View the full article
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