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pkujayhawk

Could This Be Celiac?--12 Year Old Boy

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My now 12-year-old has always struggled when he had a cold.  ABout two years ago, whenever he got a cold, he would get so dizzy he couldn't walk down a hall without holding onto a wall.  Then he started to  "pass out" for a seond or two at a time.  I put "pass out" in quotes because I'm still not sure if he was truly passing out or if he was falling asleep. I took him to several doctors but they all told me it was common for kids this age with low blood pressure to do this.  ANd then he'd recover and be fine.

 

Until this past Feb.   He had a minor cold and it was Awful.  He would sleep 15 hours a day, was basically too dizzy to function, complained of a headache, and worst of all, the fainting (or whatever it was) got worse.  he would be walking across the room and crumple in mid-step.  Twice I came home from work,  he didn't answer me, and I found him face down and unconscious. He would wake up immeidatley, though.  Oh, and he was also falling out of bed pretty much nightly, and suffering form nosebleeds once or twice a week.

 

HE was out of school for three weeks straight.  I took him to doctor after doctor, including the children's hospital emergency room, pediatrician, pediatric cardiologist, ENT doct-- all said he was fine.  The school nurse even told him he was faking it and he needed to be in class.

 

Finally in desperation I took him to a naturopath who "prescribed" mega doses of B12 supplements.  That stuff was AMAZING!  WIthin two days he was functioning again, within four he said it was the best he had felt in weeks, and after a week or two his schoolwork has skyrocketed.  (Cs and Ds and now As and Bs.)  He now does his chores and his homework with little to no reminding (not sure how long that will last!)  Of course we were all thrilled-- but now we need to know, why was he so deficient in B12?

 

The naturopath ordered "food sensitivity" tests that showed my son had sensitivities to gluten, eggs, and dairy.So then his peidatrician wanted to test him for B12 deficiency and celiac.  He had to eat bread and go without B12 for a day or two before the test.  Then they took four vials of blood for various test and he crashed.  All the old symptoms were back.  He was out of school for two days and finally revived today (after two straight days of double B12 doses.)  Test results won't be back for two weeks.

 

So here's my question (you hoped I'd get to it sooner or later).  Are my son's symptioms typical of celiac disease, or B12 deficiency, or something else?  The doctors won't tell me anything pending the results of the testing-- and given his reaction to this test, I don't want him to go through another!  And how are celiac disease and B12 deficiency related? 

 

Thanks for any help you can give me...

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How long was he gluten free before the Celiac test?  This is important as 2 days isn't considered enough time to eat gluten before a test.  It is still possible to get a positive test if he had a lot of antibodies in his blood but it could make a negative results useless.  And "food sensitivity" tests....  I wouldn't take him off foods because of those.

 

http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/archives/faq/what-is-a-gluten-challenge

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So here's my question (you hoped I'd get to it sooner or later).  Are my son's symptioms typical of celiac disease, or B12 deficiency, or something else?  The doctors won't tell me anything pending the results of the testing-- and given his reaction to this test, I don't want him to go through another!  And how are celiac disease and B12 deficiency related? 

 

 

Hypotension (low BP) is definitely a symptom of celiac disease. This site lists it third: http://www.csaceliacs.info/diagnosis_of_celiac_disease.jsp  I personally have had hypotension since I was very young. I also have postural hypotension, which mean my BP drops when I get up or start moving. I've fainted a few times, and have developed tunnel vison/temporary loss of vision hundreds of times, because of it. Bouncing off the walls when sick is familiar too. as soon as I had a fever, migraines would get ridiculous and I would need to hold onto walls; fainting is more common when sick too.

 

Low BP has improved for me after going gluten-free but it is not all better by a long shot... I haven't fainted in a few years which is a plus though.  LOL In all seriousness, I do get sick less often, and when I am sick I am not knocked flat for weeks like I used to be. The tunnel vision did not improve for me until I began to take fludricortisone to support my adrenals (I don't seem to be able to regulate my sodium content like most people can). Hypothyroidism, which is more common among celiacs, can cause hypotension as well. There are other causes, but I'm just speaking from my own personal experiences.

 

For me, fainting and low B12 are unrelated. I actually have high B12, but that is fairly unusual for a celiac; as you already suspected, low B12 is very common among celiacs.

 

Ditto Karen, if he wasn't on gluten in the 8-12 weeks prior to testing, you might want to consider retesting after a longer gluten challenge - if the results are negative that is.  Make sure as many tests as possible are run (if you need a re-do). The tests are listed in the link above.

 

Best wishes and welcome to the board.

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