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    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

JerryK

Ok, I Gotta Ask This...

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One of my main problems with docs has been I don't look sick. As a man they expect you to be big and strong. I've watched my HMO treat myself and my wife differently. We can have the same flu bug...she'll come out with three different medications. They'll pat me on the head and tell me to drink plenty of fluids.

Doctor's wonder why men don't go to them often enough...this is part of it.

So, I've gotta ask this question. Can you tell if someone is Celiac just by looking at them? I mean aside from someone wasting away, or disintegrating teeth, like I have, you can't really tell right? I just worry that my doc is going to take one look at this guy and say..."no way can you be sick" and it's out the door.

Thoughts?

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No, many celiacs don't look sick at all. Some look skinny. Some look undernourished. But many do not look sick.

As for you and your wife going out of the same doctor's office with different results (if it's a different doctor, you can't compare - it's the doctor doing the treating, not *strictly* the HMO), then you have to compare your approaches with the doctor. Same thing happens with my husband and I, but there are two primary differences - I have asthma (underlying medical condition means that respiratory infections are treated significantly differently in me), and I am much pushier. :-) It's unfortunate that we have to learn how to approach our doctors, but it's like any other relationship; we need to learn how to work with our doctors. It'll get easier over time as you become familiar with your doctor. (This is why I HATE the HMO systems that _force_ you to take whatever doctor is availabe, rather than letting you have a primary. You'll get crappier health care that way.)

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Here's what I look like! See my healthy teeth? I like the fact we don't look sickly ... in fact, I don't consider myself to be sick! I am healthy unless I eat gluten. Others get hangovers from alcohol, I get them from crumbs! :lol:

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See? I look pudgy and healthy, also! My main problem is that I'm so effin' pale, but I think that's as much from my brother taking all of the pigment genes and leaving none for me as much as anything else.

One thing people do tell me a lot is that I look like I've lost weight. Although I am overweight, I do not take this as a compliment, especially since I've been the same weight for a long time. It think it's because my face looks more gaunt or something.

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I know what you mean, Chelsea, about looking gaunt. I saw my Atlanta friends for spring break after being gluten free for four months. They thought my face looked totally different, less gaunt.

I have had this my whole life. I remember my stomach and fatigue being so bad 20 years ago that I couldn't work. That lasted a few months. I didn't look bad until last summer. I think the difference was that this time I was sick for a few years rather than a few months. It's funny how it would come and go. I mean, I always had a problem stomach, but being really ill would come and go over the years. Several times I ended up in the hospital with dehydration, even with no d. It must have had to do with poor absorption.

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Noone payed any attention to my complaints the first 2 years of feeling sick because of the fact that I appeared to be healthy. I finally started losing weight and then finally got some concern....often if you look fine on the outside your complaints wont be recognized. If your wife got the attention she needed she's lucky. I always got sent out with a recommendation to see the the phsychiatrist or a script for antidepressants. :angry:

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I looked sickly as a child and teenager, but looked well after that. And I was gaining weight, had rosy skin (too rosy, I think), and refused to act sick (when my foot was so bad, I'd rather stop and pretend to look at something in a store window, than limp). So, when people would ask me how I was, and I dared say 'not very well', they didn't really believe me (including doctors). One former friend even got really angry with me, insisting that since I looked well, I must be well (well, she became a 'former' friend that moment, because anybody who calls me a liar to my face isn't my friend. My true friends know that I never lie).

Only last summer, for six months I looked terrible, because I was awfully sick.

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Guest nini

many Celiacs don't have obvious symptoms at all and don't look sick at all, also, once we are on the gluten-free diet, we can look lots and lots healthier!

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I apparently looked sick. Now I have people comming up to me saying how much better I look. I know that everyone thought that I was anorexic. Too bad they didn't tell me when I looked sick, they just told each other. :blink:

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My hair thinned, I was pale, and I looked like I was 3 months pregnant all of the time, so I would say I definitely look different then I do now. I've been gluten-free for almost a year, and my hair and nails are healthy, my color is back, and I've lost 10+ lbs.

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Although some celiacs do look sick, I think many of us don't, which is one of the reason it's harder to get doctors to understand the seriousness of the situation. It also contributes to people questioning your health concerns and thinking you're a hypochondriac. It's better than the alternative though cause I would rather have people question me than look noticeably sick.

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I've been told (and I think it's right) that I have looked ill my entire life. Gaunt, pale, bags under the eyes (gosh what a picture that paints! :lol: ) and was suspected of having anorexia nervosa on more than one occasion. My experience has been that I have been dismissed, despite the fact that I look ill, as a hypochondriac. Thus all the misdiagnoses.

As for you being treated less carefully than your wife, my lexperience has been the opposite . My late husband, bless his heart, once shouted at a doctor that if HE had turned up in the doctor's office week after week after week in so much pain and so obviously ill someone would have diagnosed and treated him years ago.

It's sad whenever any of us is dismissed and I'm sorry to read about your experience.

I try to be hopeful that the next generation of Celiac's, both genders, will be diagnosed in a timely and humane fashion. I guess that's what we probably all hope for.

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I never looked sick, although I almost never felt well. In the year before I was finally diagnosed (last year), I began to lose weight, was terribly pale, had bruises all over my arms, and my hair was thinning to the point where you could see my scalp in a few places.

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Oh, yea, I forgot all about the bruising ... I had so many one time that I looked like I had been in an automobile accident! I now usually have one or two at any given time, though I never know where I've gotten them from. I remember one time having 11 on my arms, and not having any idea where they came from. Funny, I always thought that was normal!

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See? I look pudgy and healthy, also! My main problem is that I'm so effin' pale, but I think that's as much from my brother taking all of the pigment genes and leaving none for me as much as anything else.

ChelsE off topic but are you a 'night and day twin'? My brother and I were, him blonde and light skin blue eyes, me very dark with green eyes. We used to joke they got our legs mixed, he had nice girly ones I had sticks. And I don't think you look pudgy, jsut healthy :)

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ChelsE off topic but are you a 'night and day twin'? My brother and I were, him blonde and light skin blue eyes, me very dark with green eyes. We used to joke they got our legs mixed, he had nice girly ones I had sticks. And I don't think you look pudgy, jsut healthy :)

Thanks :) It's a flattering picture. I used to be about 50 lbs heavier, and most of the time I still feel heavy, really heavy.

My brother and sister are from a different marriage, but my brother is definitely dark. He looks mexican, greek, or italian depending on who he's with. He took all of the native american color from the gene pool, but I got all the brains :P . Both my brother and sister tan very nicely, but my sister freckles. I don't know about my dad, but from what I saw in pictures, he wasn't very pale.

My brother HAS night and day twins. His twin girls don't even look related! One has straight blonde hair, blue eyes, fair skin, and the other has curly dark hair, brown eyes, and dark skin. It's remarkable. The funny thing is my sister's kids are the same way. Two dark, one white. Wierd!

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No-one thought I looked sick before I went gluten free, but now, 19 months gluten free, people have started to comment how well I look! So apparently I didn't exactly look that healthy before, but it was subtle.

I'm pale, too, but this spring I've put more colour on than before. I think it might be a sign that my vitamin levels have improved.

Pauliina

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At 30 pounds overweight, and with rosy cheeks (too rosy--it's rosacea), nobody thought I was sick either. I didn't think I was sick until I had that horrible rash--my stomach issues were mild enough to be easily ignored.

But when I dropped 10 pounds without even trying after going gluten-free-I definitely looked a lot healthier.

About you and your wife going to the doctor with the same virus--I'd say you were the one who got proper health care, not your wife. 3 different meds for a stomach virus? Come on!

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See? I look pudgy and healthy, also! My main problem is that I'm so effin' pale, but I think that's as much from my brother taking all of the pigment genes and leaving none for me as much as anything else.

One thing people do tell me a lot is that I look like I've lost weight. Although I am overweight, I do not take this as a compliment, especially since I've been the same weight for a long time. It think it's because my face looks more gaunt or something.

Double ditto (and people say that about me too, cause I dont look bloated anymore-in the face-from the gluten)

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One of my main problems with docs has been I don't look sick. As a man they expect you to be big and strong. I've watched my HMO treat myself and my wife differently. We can have the same flu bug...she'll come out with three different medications. They'll pat me on the head and tell me to drink plenty of fluids.

Doctor's wonder why men don't go to them often enough...this is part of it.

So, I've gotta ask this question. Can you tell if someone is Celiac just by looking at them? I mean aside from someone wasting away, or disintegrating teeth, like I have, you can't really tell right? I just worry that my doc is going to take one look at this guy and say..."no way can you be sick" and it's out the door.

Thoughts?

Despite having noticable symptoms of malabsorption (i.e. vertical ridges on my fingernails), I was never sickly looking. I'm a gym bunny, and I even won a local power lifting competition. ;) Ultimately, it was GI problems that drove me to a doctor (first a lame-O one who said take drugs and you'll be fine and finally one who thought to have my tested for food allergies), otherwise I might never have known.

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Hey, I have those vertical ridges, too! I wonder if they'll go away?

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