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More Susceptible To Illness?
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Does Celiac (and an ulcer and IBS) make you more susceptible to getting other illnesses? I swear I catch everything that's out there and I'm very careful with washing my hands and using sanitizers in stores. I'm sick of getting sick on top of already having these diseases. It would be good to know if it causes my immune system to be more open to catching whatever is out there.

Thanks and a healthy and happy New Year to all of you!

Loey

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Yes, it can. Because this is auto-immune, it can break down different parts of your body. About 15 years ago when I had my first systemic break-down I caught every single cold & flu that went around even if no one else in my family succumbed. It was very frustrating. It took the right diet & exercise to break that cycle. I am very surprised that as bad as my health became in the past 2 years that didn't happen to me this time. However, I have been more active in spite of pain & pounce on illness more quickly than I did then. I use various naturopathic products to stave off illness.

I hope with change of diet you get the same results I did.

FooGirlsMom

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Does Celiac (and an ulcer and IBS) make you more susceptible to getting other illnesses? I swear I catch everything that's out there and I'm very careful with washing my hands and using sanitizers in stores. I'm sick of getting sick on top of already having these diseases. It would be good to know if it causes my immune system to be more open to catching whatever is out there.

Loey

Yes, because celiac disease can prevents absorption of Vitamin D and other vitamins/minerals which help immunity, we can develop deficiencies of all those nutrients which help us fight off viral and bacterial infections. I struggled through 4 years of gastrointestinal infections (8) after I was diagnosed with celiac disease, before I started taking HCl supplements to increase stomach acid, which kills food born bacteria. More recently my blood tests showed low levels of vitamin D, thyroid hormones and white blood cells (perhaps caused by fighting continual infections during a 4 year period). All of those deficiencies made me more vulnerable to respiratory infections. So I've had one cold after another (feels like one cold all the time) for the past 4 months.

So I now take 6000IU of D3 daily, began thyroid supplements and a couple of supplements which stimulate my immune system to produce more white blood cells and fight viral infections (arabinogalactin and low dose naltrexone). I feel much better, but still get cold symptoms if I don't get enough sleep, spend time in large crowds of people (like shopping malls) or get physically stressed (cold, tired, wet). Taking arabinogalactin controls the cold symptoms, so I never get more than a slight sinus headache or sore throat for an hour, before I take that supplment and then feel fine.

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Does Celiac (and an ulcer and IBS) make you more susceptible to getting other illnesses? I swear I catch everything that's out there and I'm very careful with washing my hands and using sanitizers in stores. I'm sick of getting sick on top of already having these diseases. It would be good to know if it causes my immune system to be more open to catching whatever is out there.

Thanks and a healthy and happy New Year to all of you!

Loey

It does IF you are still in the recovery stage of things and any deficiencies you may have are not normalized yet. Otherwise, no, Celiac would not cause you to be more susceptible to other illnesses. You have an overactive autoimmune condition, not an depressed immune system. Another condition which can cause someone to be ill all the time is IgA deficiency. You would be lacking in the antibodies necessary to fight off infection and bacteria.

A simple blood test will tell you if you have this problem, although it's usually done with a full Celiac panel.

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Yes, because celiac disease can prevents absorption of Vitamin D and other vitamins/minerals which help immunity, we can develop deficiencies of all those nutrients which help us fight off viral and bacterial infections. I struggled through 4 years of gastrointestinal infections (8) after I was diagnosed with celiac disease, before I started taking HCl supplements to increase stomach acid, which kills food born bacteria. More recently my blood tests showed low levels of vitamin D, thyroid hormones and white blood cells (perhaps caused by fighting continual infections during a 4 year period). All of those deficiencies made me more vulnerable to respiratory infections. So I've had one cold after another (feels like one cold all the time) for the past 4 months.

Low white cell counts are entirely normal for people with autoimmune conditions, especially multiple autoimmune problems. I have had life long low white cell counts, which did not improve with the gluten-free diet. Even though all my nutritional deficiencies are now gone and it's been 6 years gluten-free for me, I still have low white cell counts yet I am never sick. I don't catch colds, I have never had the flu and have been around sick people for the past month and haven't become ill. All of their illnesses are highly communicable also. I attribute this to an awesome diet, lots of exercise and the fact I do not share food or drinks with anyone, due to risk of CC for gluten.

It sounds like you are still in the healing process and it does take time for things to improve. It took me 3 years, total, to get back to normal. I didn't get sick that much before diagnosis, which is bizarre considering I was suffering from advanced malnutrition. However, now I seem to do very well, even with exposure to germs and bacteria. You'll get there....be patient!

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Low white cell counts are entirely normal for people with autoimmune conditions, especially multiple autoimmune problems.

Do you have a source for this?

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Do you have a source for this?

Yes, the source is the hematologist I saw after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I have 3 other autoimmune disorders, all due to a ridiculous diagnosis time with the Celiac. Other blood conditions which may be caused by autoimmune disorders are high protein counts. High total protein counts are sometimes a cause of concern with regards to multiple myeloma. That's the big scare most doctors look at first and when this proves false, then comes all the other reasons for having these types of blood test results...the ones you never hear about. Remember, they look for cancer first and everything else is secondary.

The doctor I saw was pretty impressive. She actually was pretty well versed with Celiac and assured me that all my wonky blood work was due to autoimmune issues. My protein count returned to normal but the white cell count didn't....again, entirely normal for people with autoimmune issues. Some people will experience a return to normal but others don't. The only time they worry about the low white cell count is if you get sick a lot. I don't so I don't worry about it.

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Interesting. I did a very quick google search and found that it was only associated with certain autoimmune diseases. I'll try to search more deeply when I have time, but if you happen to run into your doc, ask her if her info is from journals, or personal experience.

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Interesting. I did a very quick google search and found that it was only associated with certain autoimmune diseases. I'll try to search more deeply when I have time, but if you happen to run into your doc, ask her if her info is from journals, or personal experience.

The doctor I saw did not specifically name certain autoimmune diseases as being linked to low white cell counts but, as I have so many, she said this was common and a well known subject for doctors. There are many issues which doctors are privy to but never discuss with their patients. I also have many family members in the medical field and they have also heard of this, for lack of a better term, side effect to autoimmune issues. I don't think you will always find journals and JAMA articles on some lesser recognized side effects to autoimmune disease but they exist. Maybe there are but I was not interested in looking into it, as I had a pretty detailed conversation with the doctor and was satisfied with her answers to me.

I should mention that most of my siblings and my mother also have low white cell counts. All have various autoimmune problems, related to Celiac but some are in denial about it and refuse to go gluten-free. Those would be the family members who are chronically ill and catch everything that comes down the pike. I think it has all to do with eating wheat and the resultant deficiencies and not from having a low cell count. They are run down from eating foods they shouldn't be eating but try to tell them that! :rolleyes:

One thing I have learned from Celiac is that you may have wonky blood work and it may last a lifetime. It doesn't mean it is anything to worry about. Normal for a Celiac may not be the what's normal for the general population. Quality of cells is more important than quantity. If a person is always sick, then there may be other factors at work but having a low white cell count is not an automatic reason to be concerned.

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Low white cell counts are entirely normal for people with autoimmune conditions, especially multiple autoimmune problems. I have had life long low white cell counts, which did not improve with the gluten-free diet. Even though all my nutritional deficiencies are now gone and it's been 6 years gluten-free for me, I still have low white cell counts yet I am never sick. I don't catch colds, I have never had the flu and have been around sick people for the past month and haven't become ill. All of their illnesses are highly communicable also. I attribute this to an awesome diet, lots of exercise and the fact I do not share food or drinks with anyone, due to risk of CC for gluten.

It sounds like you are still in the healing process and it does take time for things to improve. It took me 3 years, total, to get back to normal. I didn't get sick that much before diagnosis, which is bizarre considering I was suffering from advanced malnutrition. However, now I seem to do very well, even with exposure to germs and bacteria. You'll get there....be patient!

I never had low WBC before this year. I also rarely got colds, and for those rare colds I could fight off cold symptoms with a good night's sleep before this year. My WBC was lower than normal in September and much lower in November. That's not a good trend. I also had all those Leukopenia symptoms like fatigue, frequent respiratory infections and developing 8 bacterial/parasitic/fungal infections over a 4 year period (after which my WBC plummeted). Since then I've had constant cold symptoms despite using all the usual (nondrug) cold treatment stuff, like rest, fluids, vitamin C, D, arabinogalactin (source of echinechea).

I agree that I'm still in the healing process. I obsessively abstained from gluten and other diagnosed allergens for almost 7 years. However, I had undiagnosed and misdiagnosed celiac disease symptoms for too many years and wasn't diagnosed until age 56. I've read that older adults' intestinal lesions heal V E R Y slowly, if at all, after too many years of gluten damage. I'll stay off gluten, but I also need to address the autoimmune problems which I currently experience, including leukopenia.

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I never had low WBC before this year. I also rarely got colds, and for those rare colds I could fight off cold symptoms with a good night's sleep before this year. My WBC was lower than normal in September and much lower in November. That's not a good trend. I also had all those Leukopenia symptoms like fatigue, frequent respiratory infections and developing 8 bacterial/parasitic/fungal infections over a 4 year period (after which my WBC plummeted). Since then I've had constant cold symptoms despite using all the usual (nondrug) cold treatment stuff, like rest, fluids, vitamin C, D, arabinogalactin (source of echinechea).

I agree that I'm still in the healing process. I obsessively abstained from gluten and other diagnosed allergens for almost 7 years. However, I had undiagnosed and misdiagnosed celiac disease symptoms for too many years and wasn't diagnosed until age 56. I've read that older adults' intestinal lesions heal V E R Y slowly, if at all, after too many years of gluten damage. I'll stay off gluten, but I also need to address the autoimmune problems which I currently experience, including leukopenia.

I also went my whole life as an undiagnosed Celiac and wasn't diagnosed until I was 46. The low white cell count, for me, was from childhood so your experience is different than mine. Anytime you have a sudden and dramatic change means something is going on and needs to be investigated.

Do you exercise? I hit the gym 3 times per week and it has made a tremendous difference in my autoimmune issues. That is one of the biggest things a person can do to build immunity......exercise. I know it's hard to do when you aren't feeling energetic but it's better than any drug a doctor could give you. Even walking every day can make a big difference, if working out in a gym is not possible. I hope you can find the source of this problem and be on the mend. I know the frustration of having weird problems which take doctors too long to figure out. Sometimes the fall-out from Celiac is worse than the disease itself.

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Hey Loey,

My answer to you would be YES celiac disease can supress your immune system because your eating the offending foods and your bodys trying to fight them off which in turn makes you less suseptible to fight off other infections.I however am lucky and was diagnosed fairly early and my blood counts were perfect even tho i sure feel anemic and tired they swear im not:)Still havent done full vitamin levels i will be doing those next week.I also find when i do get sick it tends to be more in the fall/wibter months just lasted longer than most as i did take alot of antibitotics in the past years due to severe sinus problems which i must say have almost 100% improved on the diet:)Now i wonder if my seasonal hayfever for grass/trees will improve or it has no ties?? Time will tell xoxo

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Hey Loey,

My answer to you would be YES celiac disease can supress your immune system because your eating the offending foods and your bodys trying to fight them off which in turn makes you less suseptible to fight off other infections.I however am lucky and was diagnosed fairly early and my blood counts were perfect even tho i sure feel anemic and tired they swear im not:)Still havent done full vitamin levels i will be doing those next week.I also find when i do get sick it tends to be more in the fall/wibter months just lasted longer than most as i did take alot of antibitotics in the past years due to severe sinus problems which i must say have almost 100% improved on the diet:)Now i wonder if my seasonal hayfever for grass/trees will improve or it has no ties?? Time will tell xoxo

Celiac Disease does not suppress your immune system....it is a disease of overactive immune response. You may become run down from anemia related issues from mal-absorption but anyone suffering from Celiac disease has an over active immune system.

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Celiac Disease does not suppress your immune system....it is a disease of overactive immune response.

It would seem that way--knock on wood, I don't get sick nearly as often as I used to before being gluten-free.

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I also went my whole life as an undiagnosed Celiac and wasn't diagnosed until I was 46. The low white cell count, for me, was from childhood so your experience is different than mine. Anytime you have a sudden and dramatic change means something is going on and needs to be investigated.

Do you exercise? I hit the gym 3 times per week and it has made a tremendous difference in my autoimmune issues. That is one of the biggest things a person can do to build immunity......exercise. I know it's hard to do when you aren't feeling energetic but it's better than any drug a doctor could give you. Even walking every day can make a big difference, if working out in a gym is not possible. I hope you can find the source of this problem and be on the mend. I know the frustration of having weird problems which take doctors too long to figure out. Sometimes the fall-out from Celiac is worse than the disease itself.

Yes, I exercise daily (60-90 minute walks and 20 minutes of weights and yoga). Exercise helps increase endorphins which increases immunity. I actually have a great naturopathic holistic doc who prescribed low dose naltrexone, which increases endorphins and improves immunity, and arabinogalactins (the source of echinechea) to fight respiratory infections. I'll retest my WBC level mid January to see whether the LDN has helped.

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Celiac Disease does not suppress your immune system....it is a disease of overactive immune response. You may become run down from anemia related issues from mal-absorption but anyone suffering from Celiac disease has an over active immune system.

While this is true, it seems the immune system is so busy fighting the gluten bogeyman that it doesn't have time for the routine, run-of-the-mill virus housework, which viruses I contracted in excessive numbers my whole life, and which lasted three times as long as everyone else's, always ending up in secondary infections, usually my lungs. Admittedly, the last two or three years before I quit gluten were worse, when I had pernicious anemia (I kept asking what Increased MCV meant :blink: ), which has resolved with appropriate supplementation. Touching wood as I type this but my immune system seems to be the best it has ever been despite my having to take an immunosuppressant (Humira), but from what I have heard this does not make you more likely to catch things, just harder to get rid of them :o

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Mushroom i agree 100% you got it right not more suspitable just harder to get rid of i have had a harder time getting rid of things myself the past few yrs and i am 3 1/2 months gluten free feeling better but not 100% i keep getting chest congesion although i dont take anything and the heat in my house is forced hot air kills me,do you think it will take longer to build my system up?? or should the diet be helping with this sicknesses by now??

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Thank you all so much for the thoughtful and informative replies to my question. I was prone to illness prior to the Celiac diagnosis but I was also a teacher and exposed continually to germs.

I was diagnosed last June and have been following a strict gluten-free diet for 6 months. I recently was diagnosed with an ulcer and IBS. I don't like my current GI and will see a new one who was recommended by a friend of my husband's on January 20th. He will give you as much time as you need for him to listen and will try something new if I research it.

I've always been prone to upper respiratory illnesses and always get a flu shot because of that. It seems that I get sick much more frequently since June. I'm beyond sick of being sick. It's bad enough to have the Celiac, n ulcer, and IBS but the flu knocked me for a loop. I've spent three days in bed and not much time with my family.

I don't know what I would do without this forum. smile.gif

Loey

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hey loey i was a waitress for 5 yrs so i was always around other people and there germs as well:( I think its early in your diet and within a yr or so i think you will build yourself up enough where you dont get sick as much xoxo

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hey loey i was a waitress for 5 yrs so i was always around other people and there germs as well:( I think its early in your diet and within a yr or so i think you will build yourself up enough where you dont get sick as much xoxo

Hi Melissa,

Thanks for giving me hope and for all your (and the forum's support). I am finally feeling a little better. Actually made my family mac & cheese (I'm dairy free). I was thinking I couldn't attend the New Year's Eve Party we were invited to but I'm hopeful that I'll make it. It will be a chance to meet people in our neighborhood (we moved to a new state the day after I received all of my celiac test results). So even if we go for a little while it will be a good thing. I'm bringing champagne and a non gluten-free tray of gourmet cookies (which DH can carry). I'll bring a baggie of gluten-free veggies and keep it with me all night.

Wishing all of you a healthy and happy new year. May this be the year that those of us still feeling crappy turn the corner!

Loey

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P.S. I was exercising before I got sick. Right now I find that even walking too much throws me off. I also had bouts of Ataxia. I've been a mess. But I'm an optimistic mess!!!

Loey smile.gif

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But I'm an optimistic mess!!!

:)

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i was exercising before i got sick too how funny:) You have the right attitude you will be ok xoxo

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i was exercising before i got sick too how funny:) You have the right attitude you will be ok xoxo

2011 is going to be a GREAT year for all of us!!!!!!

wub.gifwub.gif Loey

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My understanding of Celiac is that the damage to the gut wall means that proteins from other foods and other ? can pass into the body and be seen as invading pathogens. Usually foods are broken down and absorbed before they pass through the gut wall, and so do not appear as invaders by the immune system. This adds stress to all the systems, alows opportunistic things like candida to take hold, and also means that the body does not get enough nutrients required for a healthy immune system. The organs get stressed, like the liver whose role is to break down the toxins. The net result is that there is a tendency to get a systemic breakdown, our immune systems are less effective, so we are more susceptible to illness, and gluten appears to be a fundamental culprit behind this. Other food intolerances like lactose, soy etc often appear to be made better by fixing gluten issues. I also suffer from allergies to dust mite and cold water urticaria (hives), and it appears these are linked to the damage caused by gluten. Unravelling the cause and effect chain is not easy but it seems like a very sure bet if you can succesfully get gluten out of your diet, over time (6 months to 5 years), overall health should improve. As you get older the longer it takes to recover. It is critical to be disciplined with gluten and other foods for at least 6 months - 1 year, gluten avoidance needs to be lifelong, other foods might be tolerated after time. I have been working through this for around 3 years, and made numerous mistakes and assumptions by being over confident, ignorant or ill disciplined, yet I have have had moments of excellent health that give me hope I will get on top of this. Forums like this where we exchange experiences are invaluable.

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