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Vykt0r

Is It Really A Disease?

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I can't help but notice how everyone thinks of sprue as a disease and I'm not really sure I agree with this. When one thinks of a disease, they think of how the person is sick for life or until the disease goes away. In other words, the person is unhealthy. With sprue, one can live perfectly healthy as long as they stay away from what to them is a harmful substance. Are dogs diseased just because chocolate is poisonous to them and not to us? Are people who get drunk easily diseased in comparison to those who have an extremely high tolerance to alcohol? Sure, people with celiac are set apart from the rest of the population in that a certain substance that doesn't affect most people is poisonous to them, but does that go along with the definition of "disease"? Are they not just genetically different?

It's not as if we were made to consume wheat or anything that contains gluten. No Amerindian population consumed gluten before the arrival of the Spanish, for example. They survived just as well as all the other populations who had different staples.

So, yeah.

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I can't help but notice that everyone thinks of sprue as a disease and I'm not really sure I agree with this. When one thinks of a disease, they think of how the person is sick for life or until the disease goes away. In other words, the person is unhealthy. With sprue, one can live perfectly healthy as long as they stay away from what to them is a harmful substance. Are dogs diseased just because chocolate is poisonous to them and not to us? Are people who get drunk easily diseased in comparison to those who have an extremely high tolerance to alcohol? Sure, people with celiac are set apart from the rest of the population in that a certain substance that doesn't affect most people is poisonous to them, but does that go along with the definition of "disease"? Are they not just genetically different?

It's not as if we were made to consume wheat or anything that contains gluten. No Amerindian population consumed gluten before the arrival of the Spanish, for example. The survived just as well as all the other populations who had different staples.

So, yeah.

It's a disease because your immune system attacks itself and thus destroys or damages the villi in your small intestine. The result is the disability to absorbing nutrients and other vitamins.

To be more specific, it's an auto-immune disease.

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It's a disease because your immune system attacks itself and thus destroys or damages the villi in your small intestine. The result is the disability to absorbing nutrients and other vitamins.

To be more specific, it's an auto-immune disease.

Clearly you misunderstood.

I sustain that sprue is no more than just a genetic variation in the population that in and of itself does not harm the people who have it. Gluten affects us in the same kind of way any other plant poison does. Solanine, for example, is poisonous to humans, but we're not diseased because of this, right? Same thing for people with sprue. A person with sprue who stays away from this "poison"(gluten) is perfectly fine in the same way that a person who stays away from snake venom is healthy.

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The American Heritage Dictionary describes disease as:

A pathological condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism resulting from various causes, such as infection, genetic defect, or environmental stress, and characterized by an identifiable group of signs or symptoms.

That describes celiac disease to me. So yes, it is a disease.

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The American Heritage Dictionary describes disease as:

That describes celiac disease to me. So yes, it is a disease.

Tell me, how is this a genetic defect if it's not necessary to consume gluten to be healthy? What about when a person is on the diet? You can't give a definition and just say "So yeah, it is because of what that definition says."

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You can't give a definition and just say "So yeah, it is because of what that definition says."

Sure I can - that's what I did. ;)

Just because I don't need to eat gluten to be healthy, does not make the autoimmune response that will result if I consume it less of a disease. Is a peanut allergy a disease? I would submit that it is, even though you do not need to consume peanuts to be healthy.

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Guest Doll

First of all, this is such a personal question. :)

One that kind of gets my goat, shall I say.

Nobody likes to be labelled as sick, chronically ill, or have a "pre-existing" condition. I feel half dead the majority of the time from my problems, but still hate to be labelled as "diseased". And it is true that *most* with Celiac are otherwise healthy on the gluten-free diet. But the reality is that it is not "normal" to have Celiac. You have to look at this from a medical standpoint, not opinion. Because the facts speak for themselves. I agree that Celiac Disease is exactly that. A disease.

I find that some people tend to think that "Celiac" is simply an inability to process wheat. Celiac is not an allergy or "intolerance". They say things like "we were never meant to eat wheat" so this is normal, or "wheat has more gluten in it now and that's why we're reacting". Wrong and wrong. The vast majority of people can eat wheat and not have intestinal damage. They do not have a leaky gut, a tendancy for autoimmune disease, or react to multiple foods. If a miniscule amount of gluten can trigger an attack in a Celiac, then that attack will happen regardless of a higher gluten content or not. Also, there have been other foods found to cause problems in those with autoimmunity, like casein. The problem is NOT the foods, it's the disease process behind Celiac (leaky gut, and genetic "abnormal" immune response).

Unfortunately, Celiac Disease IS a disease. An autoimmune disease. It is NEVER beneficial for the body to attack it's own healthy tissue, which is exactly what happens in Celiac Disease. This is NOT normal. 99% of the population can eat gluten and not have their body react in the same way. On the other hand, poison of any kind is toxic to the human body and will likely kill ALL of those who ingest it, and trigger the SAME fatal response.

People with Celiac Disease have a leaky gut that lets in environmental triggers, food stuffs, and toxins that others do not. We also have a "screwed up" immune system: some of us have multiple autoimmune diseases (some life-threatening), and a higher than normal cancer and neuropathy risk that DOES NOT go away on the gluten-free diet.

Some people also have refractory Celiac, which doesn't respond to the diet.

I guess I just hate when people make it sound like Celiac is such a good thing and we all will be so "healthy" on the gluten-free diet. Um...no. Many of us who actually DO have Celiac and/or the genes for autoimmunity go on to develop other serious autoimmune diseases. Unless you have been stuffing your face on pure CRAP for the past 30 years of your life, there is no reason to think this. A gluten-free diet can be unhealthy and cause weight gain just as well. The only bonus is most easily accessed junk food is off limits. But no one should be eating that crap anyway. Conversely, a diet with whole grains can be healthy for non-Celiacs. For instance, oatmeal and high fibre whole grains (with gluten) have been shown to help prevent Type 2 diabetes, the common form related to obesity.

Bottom line, Celiac IS a disease, and we need a better treatment than the gluten-free diet.

We are not normal. ;)

Whoo-hooo! :)

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I agree with you Vyktor. Just like people getting stung by bees sometimes have dangerous reactions, others have very mild reactions. But everyone reacts. Personally I think the same is true of gluten. Everyone reacts, some of us just more than others. If we were eating the diet we evolved to eat, the word wouldn't be in our vocabulary.

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Guest Doll
Yes

No

Yes

1.) Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, like Celiac. If you consider one a disease, you may want to consider both. They share genetic overlap.

2.) Lactose intolerance results from an ezyme deficiency.

3.) PKU results from an enzyme deficiency as well.

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Sure I can - that's what I did. ;)

Just because I don't need to eat gluten to be healthy, does not make the autoimmune response that will result if I consume it less of a disease. Is a peanut allergy a disease? I would submit that it is, even though you do not need to consume peanuts to be healthy.

So does the fact that I get sick from a snake bite mean that I'm diseased? By your logic it would. Let's not forget that a "venom" is something that causes an adverse reaction in our bodies.

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Clearly you misunderstood.

I sustain that sprue is no more than just a genetic variation in the population that in and of itself does not harm the people who have it. Gluten affects us in the same kind of way any other plant poison does. Solanine, for example, is poisonous to humans, but we're not diseased because of this, right? Same thing for people with sprue. A person with sprue who stays away from this "poison"(gluten) is perfectly fine in the same way that a person who stays away from snake venom is healthy.

It seems like your logic is because our genes don't hurt us, the gluten does, it can't be a disease. If that's your definition of a non-disease, then sure, it's not a disease.

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1.) Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, like Celiac. If you consider one a disease, you may want to consider both. They share genetic overlap.

2.) Lactose intolerance results from an ezyme deficiency.

3.) PKU results from an enzyme deficiency as well.

Yes, and technically that enzyme deficiency is more normal than not. Adult lactose tolerance is due to a genetic mutation that occured who knows when. We're technically NOT supposed to be able to digest lactose as adults.

EDIT: I was referring to lactose intolerance.

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First of all, this is such a personal question. :)

One that kind of gets my goat, shall I say.

Nobody likes to be labelled as sick, chronically ill, or have a "pre-existing" condition. I feel half dead the majority of the time from my problems, but still hate to be labelled as "diseased". And it is true that *most* with Celiac are otherwise healthy on the gluten-free diet. But the reality is that it is not "normal" to have Celiac. You have to look at this from a medical standpoint, not opinion. Because the facts speak for themselves. I agree that Celiac Disease is exactly that. A disease.

I find that some people tend to think that "Celiac" is simply an inability to process wheat. Celiac is not an allergy or "intolerance". They say things like "we were never meant to eat wheat" so this is normal, or "wheat has more gluten in it now and that's why we're reacting". Wrong and wrong. The vast majority of people can eat wheat and not have intestinal damage. They do not have a leaky gut, a tendancy for autoimmune disease, or react to multiple foods. If a miniscule amount of gluten can trigger an attack in a Celiac, then that attack will happen regardless of a higher gluten content or not. Also, there have been other foods found to cause problems in those with autoimmunity, like casein. The problem is NOT the foods, it's the disease process behind Celiac (leaky gut, and genetic "abnormal" immune response).

Unfortunately, Celiac Disease IS a disease. An autoimmune disease. It is NEVER beneficial for the body to attack it's own healthy tissue, which is exactly what happens in Celiac Disease. This is NOT normal. 99% of the population can eat gluten and not have their body react in the same way. On the other hand, poison of any kind is toxic to the human body and will likely kill ALL of those who ingest it, and trigger the SAME fatal response.

People with Celiac Disease have a leaky gut that lets in environmental triggers, food stuffs, and toxins that others do not. We also have a "screwed up" immune system: some of us have multiple autoimmune diseases (some life-threatening), and a higher than normal cancer and neuropathy risk that DOES NOT go away on the gluten-free diet.

Some people also have refractory Celiac, which doesn't respond to the diet.

I guess I just hate when people make it sound like Celiac is such a good thing and we all will be so "healthy" on the gluten-free diet. Um...no. Many of us who actually DO have Celiac and/or the genes for autoimmunity go on to develop other serious autoimmune diseases. Unless you have been stuffing your face on pure CRAP for the past 30 years of your life, there is no reason to think this. A gluten-free diet can be unhealthy and cause weight gain just as well. The only bonus is most easily accessed junk food is off limits. But no one should be eating that crap anyway. Conversely, a diet with whole grains can be healthy for non-Celiacs. For instance, oatmeal and high fibre whole grains (with gluten) have been shown to help prevent Type 2 diabetes, the common form related to obesity.

Bottom line, Celiac IS a disease, and we need a better treatment than the gluten-free diet.

We are not normal. ;)

Whoo-hooo! :)

In reference to the other conditions that stem from sprue: yes, they do exist, but why? Have you ever considered the fact that we're surrounded by this poison and that most of us have consumed large quantities of it for several years before stopping its consumption? Is it not possible that the cancer and the other conditions or diseases occur only because our body has been ravaged for a long time? I really highly doubt that the pure presence of the genes is what causes something like hashimoto's thyroiditis(which I have heard actually calms down once the poison is no longer consumed). Of course we'd have a higher risk of cancer in the same way anyone does if they're constantly exposed to carcinogens.

Oh, and if nothing else, having to suddenly think about what you're putting in your mouth certainly makes you think more about what's also healthy and what's not. Also, it certainly forces a lot of people to cook more food which is usually better than buying preprocessed foods like cookies and such.

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So does the fact that I get sick from a snake bite mean that I'm diseased? It would if I were to use your logic.

Well, if snake bites made you sick but no one else, would it be a disease? What if whenever a snake bit you your immune system attacked itself and certain organs in your body stopped functioning properly. What do call that? Just ordinary poison?

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Well, if snake bites made you sick but no one else, would it be a disease? What if whenever a snake bit you your immune system attacked itself and certain organs in your body stopped functioning properly. What do call that? Just ordinary poison?

Why does everyone focus on the fact that gluten causes an autoimmune response? Who cares what the actual explanation for the damage is? Ok, it hurts us. If we don't consume it, we're fine. That's all that matters and that's why I don't see it as a disease. To me, a disease and its symptoms are persistent, even if they don't bother you. The genes don't harm us, it's the substance.

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The thread is over because you dodged everyones question and repeated the same thing twenty times? Dude, it's your opinion and I respect that, but you're just beating around the bush.

We know what you're saying, according to your logic, it can't be a disease because we feel fine without the gluten. You think, that in order for it to be a disease, we have to always be sick whether or not we consume gluten (aka the genes have to damage us). I don't see how this makes sense at all. People with Celiacs, aka 1% of the population (or so the experts say) get an auto-immune reaction from gluten. I'm sure you know that.

Why can't gluten be the cause to our disease? Likewise, a diet avoiding gluten can be the cure.

The disorder is always there. That is true for Celiac as well.

But then again, acne isn't a disease, sugar is just a poison. :o

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It's over, just when I found it?

I kind of side with Vyktor on this.....I suppose I think of Celiac as a condition more than a disease. Once it's treated, it no longer seems like a disease...

But I don't feel like arguing, and can't even shore up my opinion with anything other than...that's what I think.

:P

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Officially celiac disease is a disease because a minority of people have an abnormal immune reaction to something that is considered to be very normal--eating gluten. I too believe that it is more of a genetic trait than a disease, primarily because of the fact that gluten has only been part of the human diet for somewhere around 10,000 to 20,000 years, and before that there were no celiacs--right? So the shift to farming and eating gluten revealed a genetic trait in some people that was likely already present, but would have caused no harm if societies had never made the shift to eating gluten-based grains.

Is an allergy a disease? I don't think so--not even one that can kill you with a single bite of the allergen. Is celiac sprue a disease? Technically yes, but again, I like to think of it more as a genetic trait or condition rather than a disease.

Take care,

Scott

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I'm in the "it is a disease" boat as well.

My daughter, while mostly healthy when she does not consume gluten, is subject to many other issues because of having Celiac. Her immune system is compromised as a Celiac sufferer--all the time--not just when she inadvertantly consumes gluten.

Do I like that it is called "Celiac Disease"? Not especially.

The idea that a gluten-free diet is "good enough" is simply NOT good enough for me, but since the medical community think that gluten-free completely resolves Celiac, making strides for better treatments is very, very difficult.

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Guest Doll

In addition...can something that IS NOT a disease be cured???

Look for my thread that has a research article that says that Celiac Disease was cured by stem cell transplant in a patient with cancer (i.e. an immune system disorder seemingly lined to autoimmune diseases in *some* cases).

What do people think about this???

Just to add my two cents/"sense"...this is why I respectfully disagree with the "it's a genetic condition that some people have not evolved to eat wheat theory":

I (like many others with Celiac) could tolerate wheat JUST FINE prior to the disease being triggered. Same genes all along. There have been a few viruses linked to triggering Celiac (I was stressed and always sick with something just prior to my symptoms appearing out of nowhere). In twin studies, the concordance rate is NOT 100%, as it would be if the "evolution theory" was true.

We don't exactly know the origins of Celiac. Of course after the introduction of gluten in the diet, but a lot of those people (childhood onset) would have died off early on in life. No one knew why they were wasting away. Gluten being a trigger for Celiac wasn't known until this last century. Also, perhaps the initial trigger (virus perhaps) has mutated or become more common today. So what I'm saying is that people with the genes for the disease must have somehow survived in order to pass them on. Likely in many cases the same thing happened as what happens today....many people with the genes for autoimmune disease DO NOT EXPRESS them and don't get the disease. If Celiac was strictly a "genetic" condition to "gluten intolerance", this would not occur. This is what makes Celiac an autoimmune "disease".

I can see why Scott is saying this, because there has been an increase in non-Celiac "gluten sensitiveity". I personally think this has more to do with poor diets in general. Diets high in fat, sugar, yeast, etc. can all contribute to a leaky gut in someone who wasn't "genetically prone" to it in the first place. This is also thought to be a cause of "IBS", which often resolves for some at least on a processed food free, gluten-free, dairy free, and low fat diet. I am not sure yet if I think that genetically modified crops and hormones in milk etc. play a role. Likely.This would explain the increase, whereas genetics can't here. Genetics haven't changed in the past 50 years, and more and more people say they react to gluten but are not Celiac. If anything, we would have evolved to adapt MORE so to wheat (assuming this provided an increase in survival). Also, in people who react to gluten but are NOT Celiac, there may be an additional percentage of people who really are born missing an enzyme etc. One day these people may be able to treat it like lactose intolerance and take a pill.

Regardless, we can all enjoy our gluten-free beer and cakes, etc. in harmony, "diseased" or not. I do agree Scott that the term "condition" is perhaps more fitting for treated Celiac.

My humble opinion.

Thoughts?

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I agree with Vyktor.

People who are allergic to peanuts or shellfish are not considered to have a disease. Yes, I know celiac disease is not an allergy, but the comparison is between two groups of people who can't eat a certain food because it makes them ill.

And I don't agree that lactose intolerance is an enzyme deficiency. Are we SUPPOSED to have an enzyme to process the milk of another species? No human baby is lactose intolerant to human milk!

The fact that gluten harms our bodies has more to do with the fact that wheat has been genetically altered over the last couple of hundred years to have far, far more gluten, and the fact that breads, cereals, and pastas are now part (heck, sometimes ALL) of every meal for most people eating a standard Western diet.

I read that celiac disease is almost unheard of in Asian countries, but that, within a couple of generations of moving to Europe or America, Asian populations exhibit rates of celiac similar to whatever Western country they are in.

How many people do you know who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, and what do you want to bet that their symptoms are triggered by eating gluten? And most people don't consider arthrits a disease, but a "condition" (though I'm not sure there's much of a difference :rolleyes: )

Of course, in some ways, it's to our advantage to call celiac disease a disease--at least the doctors have to stop accusing us of "it's all in your head!"

Guess we can't win either way...

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