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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Newly Self-Diagnosed - Get Tested! My Story...
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I posted some of this elsewhere, but this is for those newly self-diagnosed or suspecting they have celiac due to improper or incomplete testing by their doctor. I self diagnosed 2 months ago and have been gluten-free ever since. One glutening a couple weeks ago...brutal. I decided to setup an appointment with a gastro and find out just what my situation really is. That appointment was late Monday afternoon and he had me in my procedure (EGD, bone density test, tons of blood work, etc.) the next morning. He wanted accurate test results so since I was gluten-free already he wanted biopsies and other work asap to baseline me and get me on the road to recovery.

I do not yet have the blood work results or bone density information yet. However, many people on the board ask similar questions regarding whether or not an endoscopy will show any signs of celiac if someone is already gluten-free. Short answer is YES! Although I do not know how long the healing time is for the intestine, my endoscopy results, although not back yet for the biopsies, showed visible villi damage in the intestine. I also have stomach lining damage from daily ibuprofen use for the celiac-induced headaches I no longer suffer from since being gluten-free.

If you doubt getting answers, please don't. It is worth the effort to go through all the testing even if you are gluten-free. Perhaps that's not the case for long-term gluten-free people, but if you've only recently gone gluten-free I'd recommend discussing it with your gastro and getting his/her insight into it. Mine happened to be highly experienced with celiac and left no test out of the list so it's important you find the right doc with the right experience and ability to test you properly.

One interesting note: my gastro has been practicing for 35+ years. In his first 15 years he had exactly 2 cases of celiac. He stated that statistically there should only be 400 cases of celiac in the US, but that we actually have between 3-4 million and possibly many more than that. He has gone from one every few years to now diagnosing a new case every 2 weeks. Don't doubt yourself...go get tested. It's worth the time and you may be surprised at what they find and the insight they give you from a medical perspective. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful gastroenterologist and I wish everyone similar luck finding a great doctor to fully diagnose your condition, and more importantly to get all of your vitamin, bone and other issues under control at the same time.

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Thats awesome that you were able to get in and get tested so quickly!

Unfortunately for some of us its not so easy. Especially without GI symptoms First you have to convince the primary to run the blood test. Which mine was reluctant to do, despite 3 first degree relatives! Then if that blood test comes back negative, there is no chance in hades of getting a referal to a gastro. Sometimes you gotta love the way the healthcare system works! :P

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You're right and I guess I'm fortunate that I have an HMO with open access so I didn't even bother with my GP and went straight to the gastro. I was armed with many pages of notes of my symptoms, changes after gluten-free, list of all symptoms with mine highlighted, etc. I know everyone can't go straight to the gastro, but worth avoiding the GP if the first appointment with the gastro is affordable. It makes me wonder if GP's who don't test thoroughly or know enough about celiac to test and rule it out are actually part of the reason more people are not properly diagnosed.

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Thanks for posting your experince Bill. That's great advice. It doesn't alway work out that damage is detected with the endoscopy, but when it does it is good to know about the extent of damage.

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It makes me wonder if GP's who don't test thoroughly or know enough about celiac to test and rule it out are actually part of the reason more people are not properly diagnosed.

Yes and not all gasteroenterologists are well versed in celiac testing or are actively looking for anything other than "classic" celiac symptoms.

This is the reason I remained undiagnosed for over 43 years.

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... However, many people on the board ask similar questions regarding whether or not an endoscopy will show any signs of celiac if someone is already gluten-free. Short answer is YES!

Glad you posted this, Bill. I've barely been able to believe how vehemently some claim the opposite around here, as if a biopsy can't possibly be positive w/out constant gluten up to the day of the procedure.

We just had another newer member w/ a positive biopsy after SEVEN months gluten-free. (Of course it's not a recommended testing strategy - I need to say that before someone claims "tom thinks 7mos gluten-free never changes test results" or some such nonsense.)

Anyway, I've long thought the bigger factor in biopsies is the patchy nature of damage combined w/ GIs taking too few samples or from too few locations.

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There

Glad you posted this, Bill. I've barely been able to believe how vehemently some claim the opposite around here, as if a biopsy can't possibly be positive w/out constant gluten up to the day of the procedure.

We just had another newer member w/ a positive biopsy after SEVEN months gluten-free. (Of course it's not a recommended testing strategy - I need to say that before someone claims "tom thinks 7mos gluten-free never changes test results" or some such nonsense.)

Anyway, I've long thought the bigger factor in biopsies is the patchy nature of damage combined w/ GIs taking too few samples or from too few locations.

There is a big element of that in it, Tom, but there is also a big difference in the healing rates among various individuals, how severe the damage has been, etc. ec. :)

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I decided to go gluten free because I'm breast feeding, after my blood tests were conclusive along with symptoms. I was surprised that the celiac specialist GI I saw for the first time Monday was not that concerned. She said someone with long-term celiac will usually have pretty lasting damage. She actually said there was no rush for me to decide about whether to do the endoscopy, since she doesn't think I really need it for diagnosis.

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    • celiac disease is psychosomatic
      I was diagnosed a couple years ago and started gluten-free diet then. Test also showed damage to my small intestine. I explained to this doctor how I was barely able to get out of bed when I ate gluten in the pastand my intestines are still recovering from the damage. I only discussed this briefly. I consulted with this doctor concerning my dizziness explaining that I get dizzy/migraines when I eat gluten due to my celiac disease. I further explained that my dizziness has been cut in half since I went on a gluten-free diet so I am better able to get out of bed. The consult was about taking tests to figure out if something in my brain was causing my dizziness or this doctor specialized in testing the brain for impairments. In her summary, she stated that my memory impairments were probably due to being precoccupied with thinking about my psychosomatic symptoms. However, I only though about the test when I took it. And I only think about whatever task I am trying to remember when I try to remember it! I feel my symptoms rather than think about them all day long.
    • celiac disease is psychosomatic
      If you don't get the diagnosis you are happy with go to another doc.  Try to find a Celiac Friendly doc.  OR you can do what i did and give up and just go gluten free.  I didn't need a doctor to confirm that if my gas, bloating, migraines, depression, joint pain, rash, dry skin and brittle nails went away when i went gluten free that i must have celiac.  AND 6 months after i went gluten free on my own i had some blood tests repeated that i had done when they were trying to figure out what was causing my severe rash, all the things that were "wrong" with me or abnormal in the the first blood tests, went to normal on the second test.  INCLUDING MY THYROID LEVELS! Oh, i didn't mention that during this time they diagnosed me with early hashimotos.. 6 months later i was miraculously cured from this progressive thyroid disorder according to the blood test results.  I didn't have hashimotos to put it bluntly.   I am almost 10 years gluten free with no positive Celiac diagnosis.  But let me tell you this,  My daughter's neurologist did a DNA test on her 1 year after she too went gluten free and it came back positive for Celiac.  so.  js.     That's my story..  in short.
    • celiac disease is psychosomatic
      Were you officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease at the time she wrote that?  And, if so, for how long were you diagnosed & gluten-free but still complaining of those symptoms?
    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richie By the sounds of it you could have gluten sneaking in somewhere, or maybe blood sugar issues,  or just plain anxiety, but it would be good to know for sure so you know what to do next. I think maybe the best course of action would be to see your GP and  tell him/her all your symptoms.  Book a double appointment as we say in the UK (but that isn't always possible!)  I dread seeing my own GP because as lovely as she is she is very fond of sending me for blood tests (which always seem to include liver function, thyroid and full blood count) which for someone with health anxiety isn't the recipe for a peaceful night's sleep!  But she is right, those particular blood tests, and others, can hold important clues when one has a lot of vague symptoms.   Celiac testing is of course another set of tests, which Flowerqueen has described well above.    If you do have all these tests and anxiety continues to be a problem, whether caused by by celiac disease, another medical condition or just being a stand alone problem, one book that I would recommend that really helped me understand the condition is 'At Last a Life' by  Paul David. I found it an immensely helpful tool in my recovery.   There is also a website. http://anxietynomore.co.uk/   Keep us posted Cristiana      
    • celiac disease is psychosomatic
      Unfortunately I feel this may be common.  For 6 years I was told I was fine.  Lungs fine, chest fine, just anxiety.  It was not until I pressed the anemia issue that I got a blood test.  Now I am a bit of a squeaky wheel to my doctor.  She referred me to Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN which has a celiac center.  I will meet with Dr. Murray (who is a leader in celiac research) next Friday.  If nothing else, you could always come to Mayo Clinic.
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