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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.

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4 posts in this topic

I would just like to tell you about my recent medical history and I would like to know if any confirmed celiac cases could give me some advice.

As of March of 2012 my health went downhill. One morning I felt like I was coming down with the flu, I waited for a few days and I didn't feel better, so I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with pneumonia in my left lung. I took antibiotics and I felt fine for a month, then one day I just felt exhausted. I went back to the doc, got more antibiotics, and I felt better for a few more weeks. Then I got sick a couple of more times with bronchitis and ear infections. After a bunch of tests I was finally diagnosed with chronic or recurrent epstein barr virus. All of my lymph nodes (and spleen) were enlarged, I was exhausted, and I felt an extreme and unnatural amount of anxiety. The doc put me on antibiotics for a while, in case I had been exposed to Lyme disease. Fast forward a few months and I still have fatigue, brain fog, and abnormal blood work. The physical exhaustion has gotten better as has most of the strange anxiety. (I can tell you that the anxiety was something physiological, it was not a normal mental thing). I thought I had encephalitis or something. However, I still can't concentrate on things for very long without feeling worn out. My joints all make loud popping and cracking sound. Its like my bones are made of old creaky wood. This is the most unsettling symptom to me besides the brain fog. Does anyone else have creaky joints? I briefly had eczema on my forearms last spring, which I had never experienced before. I have a splotchy rash that sometimes appears on my chest, neck, and a bit on my face.

After a few months of having mono, and still no change in symptoms I tried a gluten free challenge on a whim. I tried to cut out gluten as best as I could. Some days I did feel better, but other days I felt like crap again. When I did go off gluten, I felt like my stomach was messed up (Which I attributed to all the antibiotics I had taken in the past) Prior to this I really didn't have any GI issues. So I asked my doc about celiac, and he acted like I was another hypochondriac crazy patient. He tested me anyways, but it came back negative.(However I probably hadn't eaten any gluten for a week before the test.) oops.

Prior to all of this, I was pretty healthy, a bit skinny, but I had a huge appetite. Now I feel like an old man. As far as family history, my mother and some others have hypothyroism, my uncle had colon cancer at a young age, and my grandma had rheumatoid arthritis. Autoimmune diseases do run in my family(probably on both sides). No one with known celiac though.

I also saw a rheumatologist based on my bloodwork, and he said it was a possible lupus case. However, I doubt this as I am a white male and I would assume that celiac would probably be 100X more likely than lupus. (I calculated this based on stats.) Also, my ANA was negative, and I don't think my rash is the same as the butterfly rash. Here are some of my blood test results. I was wondering if any of this is in line with celiac disease. I am really hoping its not lupus. Or some sort of infection (I lived and worked outside in new mexico last year, and I thought it could be valley fever at first, although that came back negative.)

I know that the bloodwork doesn't appear promising, but I swear that I wake up sometimes and almost feel 100% normal. And this feeling seems to coincide with a meal that I ate the night before such as stirfry, corn tacos, or baked chicken and mashed potatoes that didn't have any gluten in it. I have to make a new appointment with a new rheumatologist, since I recently moved because I ended up not enrolling in graduate school like I had planned on doing.

Neutropenia - borderline low

WBC - low

RBC - normal

Low complement c3 and c4

Lupus anticoagulant: PTTLA, and hexagonal phase phospholipid - high

anti-dsdna - mildly elevated

ANA - negative

EBV antibodies

Hepatitis - neg

lyme - neg

Sjorgens, anitsmith, RNP, anticardiolipn,antiscleroderma, anticentromere, CRP - all negative

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Welcome!

Do you know which celiac antibody tests were ordered? Did your doctor order nutrient testing? Celiac Disease prevents absorption of nutrients which can lead to all of the symptoms you list.

Have you had any thyroid testing? Many doctors test only the pituitary hormone - thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Request Free T3, Free T4 and thyroid antibodies to properly evaluate your thyroid.

I believe you should be evaluated by a GI that specializes in Celiac - do not remove gluten until all Celiac testing - including possible endoscpic biopsy - are complete. Take a written list of your symptom progression along with photos of skin issues to your appointments.

Do establish care with a new Rheumalogist as well. Autoimmune disorders tend to run together so it is important to have as many oppinions as possible when attempting to figure out a complicated puzzle.

Keep a food/symptom log.

Take pictures of skin issues.

Keep looking for answers - doctors can be dismissive when the majority of test for non-specific symptoms come back "normal". It is up to you to push for answers.

Good luck to you :)

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Thanks for the advice, I will ask about the other tests at my next appointment. My thyroid was fine, but they only took blood for the basic test. Also, I am not sure what celiac test was ordered, the doctor just told me it was negative.

"Normal" - thats all I want out of life right now, haha.

Thanks again, your response was very appreciated

Gene

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I agree that your thyroid needs to be tested. Hypothyroidism can cause aching/popping joints and bones, fatigue, mental fogginess, etc.

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    • Weird Reaction
      Hi Richard Glad you are feeling better!   Sorry - DX is an abbreviation for diagnosis.   Thanks so much  for the info about MSG, broccoli and IBS.  Like you say, there is v. little bad press about broccoli. My aunt, who is a farmer's wife, put forward another theory that it might not have been the broccoli itself but rather some insecticide a farmer sprayed on it.   I just can't bring myself to try organic broccoli however...  Thankfully cauliflower is fine.  I just can't figure it out as I thought they were the in the same vegetable family?  So maybe it is MSG. Regarding anemia, there can be a link with iron anemia and anxiety. http://www.livestrong.com/article/471225-iron-anxiety/ And I was definitely breathless before my diagnosis; I remember finding myself  walking up a hill behind a  huge crowd of friends on a church walk, and many of them were at least 20 years older than me, and wondering why I was in last place! My B12 levels were very low at DX and I found B12 supplements helped enormously with anxiety.   I remember drinking Berroca and feeling so much better within hours of drinking it, on more than one occasion, before even understanding the link. I have just been told however that I can't take any more iron because my hemoglobin is on the high side.  It is a good thing my doctor was monitoring my supplementation as I gather too much iron can be dangerous.  Have you been told to supplement by your doctor?  If you are supplementing make sure you get your levels monitored. All the very best - and welcome to the forum!    
    • Weird Reaction
      Thank  you Flowerqueen and Cristiana for your replies. I'm actually feeling much better today. I got my appetite back yesterday lunchtime (a few hours after I typed the original post) and managed to keep in/hold down some chicken and lettuce!!! I also had a "fat" coffee (as I call it) before work with MCT Oil and butter (your probably going "yuk" right now but it's really nice...really haha) and started feeling a bit better after that. The nausea went away almost immediately after that although just the thought of having all that fat nearly made me sick but I just wanted to get back to normal asap. I usually have a lot of fat in my diet anyway which is normal for me so the coffee choice isn't unusual. Plus it was also the third day which was when I started feeling better after the first time. I didn't eat til lunchtime and I was good and hungry by then so I knew I was coming out of it. That nausea and trembling feeling is something I don't want ever again. I think after the workout and tearing down muscle tissue (which is a form of stress) and then not being able to hold the nutrients in for repair affected my nervous system. My theory only but to me it makes sense. Although Vitargo also comes in flavors I always get the Natural / Unflavored one so the barley is the only ingredient. As for there being something wrong with that particular batch, well, you be on to something there. Also I'm not knocking the product because as I said, I have used it before and it did exactly what it was supposed to do. But, I will never have it again. Cristiana, my last blood test revealed I had slight anaemia which really surprised me with the amount of red meat I've eaten during my life and the anxiety thing is also new as I'm usually a happy, positive person. Life is good but after this recent reaction I think it is an indirect cause of the glutening. I'm also surprised at how sensitive I've become to it and how quickly. Also what is DX? I also follow a FODMAP eating plan (I can give you more info if you haven't heard of it) which also eliminates certain foods. It's a plan directed mostly at IBS but is well worth looking into if you are suffering any gut health, digestion issues or any ailment you may have which you can't get to the bottom of. Broccoli was one of the foods which I have cut back on and I've eaten HUGE amounts of broccoli so it is a superfood for some but apparently not for others. (I even think I read somewhere it has MSG naturally in it) It's hard to find any bad articles on broccoli so this also really surprised me. It also answered a few other questions I had. Many, many thanks again to you both for your replies. It actually settled me just reading them. I'm glad I found these forums so I don't think i'll be a stranger around here for long.   Richard
    • Confused
      Okay, I get that you are not going to follow the advice from some stranger on the internet, but please read the links that I gave you.  Your doctor is not following the standard level of care.  I am dead serious.  I have Kaiser.  My own GP doesn't have a clue about celiac disease, but my Kaiser GI does.  Please, I urge you to get properly diagnosed.  All celiac testing requires you to be on a gluten diet.  If you go gluten free even for two weeks (it will take time to get the referral and appointment), it will mess up the tests.  Your GI will put you back on a gluten diet (called a gluten challenge) for 8 to 12 weeks.    Chances are (almost 100%) you will feel more miserable!  That will just delay your diagnosis.   Symptoms not bad you say?  I had pretty severe anemia, but no tummy issues.  Two months after my diagnosis, I fractured my back DOING NOTHING!  Yep, I have osteoporosis from undiagnosed celiac disease and I am an athlete!   Please take this seriously!    
    • Silent Celiac or Non-digestive symptoms
      Oh, you might learn how to tell if you had been glutened.  I just had anemia as my main symptom.  I did not have any tummy issues at all.  I was in shock when my doctor even suggested testing me for celiac disease!   Glutenings can vary as we are all different.  For some it is just a few days, others a few weeks and others months (that would be me).  My last official glutening as supported by follow-up antibody testing lasted for three months.  Guess what?  I had vomiting, abdominal pain, the works!  Funny how celiac disease can change and evolve over time.   Welcome to the forum!  Have some patience and learn all that you can.  The good news is that you can feel better and no medications are required!  
    • Confused
      Thank you for the information. I've been not sure if I should eat gluten or not right now. Dr. said I should watch what I eat when I emailed him the question. My symptoms aren't very bad (I understand that doesn't matter for celiac disease), so I can definitley tolerate the food. But I have been starving myself the last few days due to not knowing what the heck is going on. Thanks again.
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