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Celiac disease: Five Simple Questions Show if Kids Need a Gluten-free Diet

Celiac.com 02/15/2010 - Just five simple questions can help you determine if your child needs a gluten-free diet, according to the a recent Danish study that aims to improve celiac disease diagnosis in children.

Celiac disease is a disorder in which people suffer intestinal damage when they eat foods made with wheat, rye, or barley.

Over the last five or six decades, rates of celiac disease have increased 400%. Worse still, at least half of kids with celiac disease never get diagnosed.

That means they will continue to eat foods made with wheat, rye, or barley; and that they will suffer persistent symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and behavior problems, along with  intestinal damage, that are perfectly avoidable with a gluten-free diet.

A simple blood test can tell doctors which kids most likely have celiac disease. But doing a blood test on every child is simply not practical. Would it be better to test just the kids who show one or more symptoms common to celiac disease?

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To answer that question, doctor Peter Toftedal, MD, of Denmark's Odense University Hospital, created a simple, five item questionnaire to help parents provide information on recurrent abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, and lack of height and weight gain:

  1. Has your child ever suffered from abdominal pain more than twice during the last three months?
  2. Has your child ever had diarrhea lasting more than two weeks?
  3. Does your child have a tendency to firm and hard stools?
  4. Does your child gain enough weight?
  5. Does your child gain enough height?
Toftedal's study team conducted a trial of the questionnaire in Denmark's County of Funen. They mailed it to the parents of 9,880 8- and 9-year-olds. Prior to mailing the questionnaire, just 13 children in Funen were known to have celiac disease.

A total of 7,029 parents returned the completed questionnaire, with 2,835 reporting at least one symptom. The research team invited these children for a celiac blood screen. A total of 1,720 children submitted to screening, with 24 showing positive antibodies common with celiac disease.

Additional testing confirmed 14 case of celiac disease among the children of Funen, meaning that only half of the kids with celiac disease had been diagnosed. When you factor in the additional 1,115 parents who did not report for screening, the result might be slightly higher.

Toftedal and colleagues conclude that a number of "preclinical and low-grade symptomatic patients with celiac disease may be identified by their responses to a mailed questionnaire."

Pediatrics, March 2010

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4 Responses:

 
User
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said this on
16 Feb 2010 1:32:42 PM PDT
I kinda disagree with this type of diagnosis. Those questions would have skipped over me as a child because I don't ever remember having diarrhea issues and abdominal pain didn't seem to be an issue until high school. I also made it to my mom's height. I seemed fairly healthy and very athletic except for the brain fog, etc.
This disease is so crazy. Not having nutrients wreaks havoc in many different ways. For me it was hyperhidrosis (profuse sweating) under my arms at around fifth/sixth grade. For my daughter, the sweating began around the same time except it was her hands. Our legs also became like basketball skin at that time too. Going gluten-free has been a life-saver and a solution to embarrassment.

 
endrun
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said this on
24 Feb 2010 7:02:49 AM PDT
I do agree with this article although I agree with the points USER made as well. These questions are common-sense and may seem overly simplistic on some level, but I was told as a child my significant underweight was due to a "fast metabolism"(which of course was a crock).
Therefore I agree with the folks in Denmark and the nations such as Ireland who have dealt with the matter for centuries, while culturally America is just coming up to speed here.

 
brooke pulsinelli
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said this on
06 Sep 2011 8:11:17 PM PDT
I think that these 5 questions are awful and hardly a true sign of the disease. To even publish this is irresponsible and greatly misleading to anyone who is just beginning their search for answers! How disappointing to find this on a celiac web page!

 
admin
( Author)
said this on
07 Sep 2011 11:59:51 AM PDT
This is a summary of research that was published in Pediatrics, March 2010...how is it bad to summarize research on celiac disease on a celiac site?




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Yes the first has wheat gluten in the ingredients, the second via the wheat flour. Here in the UK manufacturers HAVE to highlight gluten sources. Check the ingredients and if WHEAT, BARLEY, or RYE are mentioned *usually highlighted, italicised or underlined, then you will know there's gluten. Most of iceland's processed foods will probably be gluten filled to be honest. Any breadcrumbed or battered foods for instance. Ps, you and me both have another disease, the british one of apologising You don't need to, you're very welcome here and all of your questions are valid and understandable. It's going to get better

Hi, I am deeply sorry for posting on here again. As I am scheduled for an Endoscopy on the 9th May, I wanted to make sure that my gluten intake is being kept the same. I was wondering if the ingredients to these products contain gluten even though dextrose is in one of them? http://groceries.iceland.co.uk/iceland-32-breaded-chicken-nuggets-448g/p/52275 Chicken Breast Fillet (60%), Water, Wheat Flour, Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Dextrose, Salt, Yeast), Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, White Pepper, Dried Sage. http://groceries.iceland.co.uk/iceland-10-breaded-chicken-burgers-550g/p/52276 Chicken Breast Fillet (60%), Water, Wheat Flour, Breadcrumbs (Wheat Flour, Dextrose, Salt, Yeast), Rapeseed Oil, Salt, Wheat Gluten, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, White Pepper, Dried Sage. Thank you for all your help so far,

JMG got it down pretty much, the painful and gluten effects from eating it should clear up in a month, damage symptoms you might notice some differences as early as 2-4months but most do not noticed major improvements til about 6 months to a year. I have been gluten-free for over 3 years all my villi have healed according to the doctor on my last scope. It is very important to not cheat and avoid any kind of CC as it can set you back weeks or months. I would suggest a whole foods only diet for the first month or two, no dairy, simple stews, soups, etc. make for easy to digest and simple meals. Check out the 101 thread for some good information. PS a new combo crockpot, steamer, rice cooker combo and liners for a crock pot will be a life saver for making simple meals and easy clean ups. Quick cook microwave ware will also be handy making sure you have gluten-free cooked meals if you can not get new cookware immediately. I normally suggest cleaning out the entire house, scrubbing down knobs, handles, on the drawers, sink, fridge, cubbards etc. throw out condiment jars, checking ingredients on everything in the house including your hygiene and makeup. Putting in drawer organizers for new utensils, throwing out scratched glass, teflon, plastic, and steel cookware. Throwing out any Tupperware, and cutting boards, some utensils that can not be cleaned well. Some times you can save cast iron and stainless steel cook ware if you can run it in your ovens cleaning cycle over 600F. Gluten is a protein like blood if you can not clean a item where a CSI team will not find it give it up, it is not a germ that can be killed with disinfectant. I use freezer paper for clean prep surfaces, also makes clean up a breeze, I tend to use gloves alot also when fixing foods,

Hi Allie and welcome First off, I know 3 years was a long wait, but at 17 you've figured out celiac way before many people do. That should make a big impact on minimising its effects and helping you with the diet, so, bizarrely enough, congratulations! A lot of good advice has been brought together in this thread: Don't worry that your symptoms are bad now. As you follow the diet your body will begin healing itself and you're still very young so hopefully this will go really smoothly. Think in terms of the next 6 months rather than weeks however, recovery will likely take a little time. Eat as healthily as you can, lots of whole foods and try to avoid the gluten free processed substitutes as your digestive system needs all the help it can get at this moment. You may want to avoid dairy as well for now and think about reintroducing it later. This site has been really helpful to me and others. I hope you find it just as useful. Best of luck! ps, your increased reaction to gluten during the challenge phase was perfectly normal. Many find that reintroducing it much worse than the initial affects and take some time to get over the challenge. That's why you'll see lots of posts here urging folks to 'stay on gluten' till their testing is complete! PPS( ) Inasmuch as your post can convey emotion, your's seemed positive Stay that way! At times the diet can be a bit isolating and some friends and family may struggle to understand. I'm sure it will be difficult at times making good choices and staying vigilant when everyone around you doesn't have to think twice. Stick with it, your health is paramount and it will be worthwhile. In time your good friends will get it and those that don't aren't worth worrying about. There are great foods you can eat and if not, learn to cook them yourself

Hi! My daughter is 19 was diagnosed at age 16. It took about 12-18 month s for her to fully heal from the damage and feel "normal" again. Also because of the damage done she had reactions to dairy, so you may want to try no or minimum dairy until youre fully healed. Just a suggestion. Hope you start feeling well soon!