Celiac.com 12/12/2008 - The tales of diagnois for celiac disease are almost alwaysdramatic: Some people go for years dealing with aches and pains and thinkingthat this is just the way their body was built. I remember feeling that way when my one-year-old was so crabby—walkingaround with her big old “Buddha” belly. Recently, I requested the top threesymptoms from adult and child celiacs to put together a survey of the topsymptoms on my blog. I didn’t ask forthe diagnosis stories, but people offered some insight into the trials andtribulations of getting diagnosed with celiac disease—and eventually leadinga new and healthier life!
It took a major virus, three doctors, x-rays, blood tests toget to Emma’s diagnosis.One doctor toldme “kids throw up” (once every nine days? Really?), a second opinionrecommended Milicon for her “gassy” tummy. Luckily, it all ended the way it should have, with a diagnosis of celiacdisease that only took about 5 months—which is relatively little compared tosome of the stories you’re about to hear.
Jean’s daughter, Vicky was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease atthe age of 12—which included 3 major surgeries! Her celiac disease diagnosis didn’t comeuntil the age of 51. By then major damagehad been done to her body with the onsets of several health issues:rheumatoid and osteo arthritis, thyroiddisease, severe osteoporosis (both hips have been replaced ...one twice)and severe scoliosis. It turns out: three generations of women in the samefamily all started showing their symptoms in those early teen years.
Kim wrote me and said she was diagnosedat 39 years old when she was hospitalized with stomach pain, vomiting anddiarrhea.But she added at the end ofher note, “ probably shouldhave gotten tested at [age] 11 when I had the same severe cramping that put mein the hospital.” The bright spot inthis story is that her eventual celiac diagnosis, led to the quicker diagnosisof her 5-year-old daughter who was just beginning her symptoms of low weightand anemia.
Another contributorsaid her 14-year-old son was diagnosed with celiac two years ago, but has alsohad a kidney issue for the last 9 years.But since he has been eating gluten free…his kidneys have also gottenbetter, last report was the best since before he was brought in at age 5!! Now I wonder which really came first?”It does make you wonder.
But there are somesuccess stories:
One mom mentionedher son’s quick diagnosis. “[it] started with diarrhea. Thought it was a stomach bug.” Then it moved to constipation and two weekslater things still weren’t right.Thentheir doctor put two and two together, “[An]amazing pediatrician said ‘This sounds like Celiac’ and ran the bloodtests. Andrew was only ‘sick’ about 1 month before diagnosis,” shesaid. However looking back on it all, hehad a big belly and slow to grow.
Others talked about having celiac disease and not even feeling sick.
- “I onlyfound out about the anemia through a blood test done as part of a completephysical; my general health to that point was excellent, including runningmarathons,” Danny wrote.
- “The only reason [my 3-year-old daughter]was diagnosed was her yearly blood draw came back positive so we had thebiopsy,” said Monica, a mom of two celiac children.
- Anna’s dad, Tom, was diagnosed in his 40s aftera family-round of blood testing. He isasymptomatic.
The last two pointsshow how important it is to take part in preventative measures, by gettingregular blood testing done for first-degree family members. The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestiveand Kidney Diseases says, “…because celiac disease is hereditary, familymembers of a person with the disease may wish to be tested. Four to 12 percentof an affected person’s first-degree relatives will also have the disease.”
The stories ofdiagnosing celiac disease may leave many of us angry, frustrated, and possiblygrateful—all at the same time. The missed diagnoses and misdiagnoses of those who have thisdisease presents a roller-coasterride of emotions. I hope this articlehelps you in knowing many others have gone through it and are likely goingthrough it as we speak.We just need tomake sure we’re spreading the word and getting as much awareness out there aspossible to help others in similar situations.