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celiacsupport1992

Friend Diagnosed After Paleo Diet

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Just wanted some thoughts

My best friends, 21 years old, was recently diagnosed with celiacs after she started the paleo diet.

But she became very sick after starting the diet, shes always been healthy, her only long term health complaint being irregular bowel movements. When she started the paleo diet she got violently ill, having to go to the hospital, thinking it was her appendix.

She always ate tons of bread and loved pasta, no gastric or mental problems.

What do you guys think?

Im premed and just think there was something else to blame her.

Thank you.

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There really isn't anything to blame, Celiac just happens.  Sometimes it can be triggered by illness and life events, but as you are right, it is something other than her "paleo diet".  You can solidly blame her genetics, I guess.  The fact that it happened and she was having symptoms around the same time as her paleo dieting really only says that she was not properly following the paleo diet because it should be naturally gluten free.  However on her behalf, that diet doesn't take into account cross contamination of allergens and a lot of people aren't 100% strict on grain free when it comes to little stuff.  And of course, many people cheat on diets when they are voluntary and not medically necessary.

 

Also, if she ate very differently before doing the paleo diet, drastically changing your eating habits can cause GI upset when you first do it anyways.  It was possibly the irritating push she needed to go get diagnosed.  Many people don't realize they have Celiac symptoms until they go away.  And some people have very few symptoms.  I never had celiac GI symptoms, and actually got diagnosed in the first stages of Celiac disease by accident when they were looking into my gallbladder problems.  I don't get immediate GI symptoms now when I do accidentally eat gluten.  But there is still internal damage happening.  After being gluten-free for a while after diagnosis my unexplained peripheral neuropathy and slight anemia went away.  Never equated those to possible celiac until everything came together afterwards.  People like me are sometimes referred to as "Silent Celiacs".

 

Also, I think it is great that as a premed student you are looking into this, even if it is out of curiosity.  We need more properly informed doctors out there.  There is a lot of info on this forum and the moderators do a good job of trying to keep only verifiable information floating around.  I am sure you are already doing this, but especially in the first months of your friend adjusting to a new way of eating, be super supportive and encouraging, and have her back when she hits hard times and challenges.

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