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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.

I am of the genetic difference not disease frame of mind myself. If we are not consuming gluten we are not diseased. I know many won't agree but I have felt that way ever since I was diagnosed.

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I have enjoyed these boards for a few months now since I discovered them and I have gained valuable information. But honestly, this thread?? WHO CARES what Celiac is labeled as??? Why spend time worrying about it? Call it a disease, condition, intolerance, genetic difference, whatever makes you comfortable. I couldn't care less what it's called or considered. I just deal with it the best I can and move forward......

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I have enjoyed these boards for a few months now since I discovered them and I have gained valuable information. But honestly, this thread?? WHO CARES what Celiac is labeled as??? Why spend time worrying about it? Call it a disease, condition, intolerance, genetic difference, whatever makes you comfortable. I couldn't care less what it's called or considered. I just deal with it the best I can and move forward......

See my last post on this thread(other than this one).

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Hello Sara,

Obviously some of us do care enough about this topic to discuss it here--if you do not feel the same way please feel free to move to some other topic that you feel is worthy of discussion.

Take care,

Scott

I have enjoyed these boards for a few months now since I discovered them and I have gained valuable information. But honestly, this thread?? WHO CARES what Celiac is labeled as??? Why spend time worrying about it? Call it a disease, condition, intolerance, genetic difference, whatever makes you comfortable. I couldn't care less what it's called or considered. I just deal with it the best I can and move forward......

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But honestly, this thread?? WHO CARES what Celiac is labeled as???

Apparently, the people who have posted in this thread DO care, some of them passionately. I'm glad you are able to "move forward" in your own way, but for some of us, the way to move forward is to discuss our feelings about it, even if we are not quite in sync with you.

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I lean toward thinking of it as a genetic condition- one that may lie dormant for years until it's triggered and becomes active. However-- I always refer to it as a disease when speaking about it to people, because if you say anything else, they often dismiss it as unimportant.

-Sarah

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I have enjoyed these boards for a few months now since I discovered them and I have gained valuable information. But honestly, this thread?? WHO CARES what Celiac is labeled as??? Why spend time worrying about it? Call it a disease, condition, intolerance, genetic difference, whatever makes you comfortable. I couldn't care less what it's called or considered. I just deal with it the best I can and move forward......

I'm kinda with you on this one. Don't care what the word used is. But it is kind of interesting to watch other people debate it.

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I always refer to it as a disease when speaking about it to people, because if you say anything else, they often dismiss it as unimportant.

Yes, I tend to do this, too, for the same reason.

I think of Celiac as a chronic condition--a disease, yes, but one that can be managed.

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Gluten affects us in the same kind of way any other plant poison does.

First off, let me congratulate you on having gone gluten-free before every system in the body had a (or multiple) serious problem(s), w/ several conditions lingering or perhaps permanent.

No one who's been thru what some here have been thru, especially those w/ permanent resulting conditions, would fathom asking whether it's a disease.

If there's some definition of disease that doesn't include auto-immune as a category, I'd like to see it.

Sooooo, "affects like a plant poison" huh? . .. . I bet if knew anything about this, I could dispute it pretty effectively. But I don't. :(

<helllllllp . .. .someone . .. . .helllllllp>

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First off, let me congratulate you on having gone gluten-free before every system in the body had a (or multiple) serious problem(s), w/ several conditions lingering or perhaps permanent.

No one who's been thru what some here have been thru, especially those w/ permanent resulting conditions, would fathom asking whether it's a disease.

If there's some definition of disease that doesn't include auto-immune as a category, I'd like to see it.

Sooooo, "affects like a plant poison" huh? . .. . I bet if knew anything about this, I could dispute it pretty effectively. But I don't. :(

<helllllllp . .. .someone . .. . .helllllllp>

I happen to have a bad thyroid due to this. It's not life threatening but suddenly being dependent on pills at 18 is not pleasant. I realize other people have much worse health than I do but it's a real shock when it happens all of the sudden. Not going to complain, though.

Also, in reference to the plant poison thing, my point was that I tend to look at it from a more general point of view. I don't focus on what actually happens when gluten makes us sick(which would be the autoimmune reaction). To me only the culprit for the damage(or the trigger if you will) is what deserves our attention. The body isn't going to attack our duodenum unless we've consumed or been exposed to gluten.

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Gluten affects us in the same kind of way any other plant poison does.

Not true. Most plant proteins do *not* evoke an auto-immune response - they do not cause the body to produce chemicals that attack itself, they do damage directly.

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Perhaps both Tarnalberry and ViktOr have valid points. When we hear about poisonings (intentional or otherwise), we hear about nausea, vomiting, severe diarrhea, severe stomach pain--same symptoms as celiac, how about that? I'm guessing that this is what ViktOr meant, although, technically, Tarnalberry is correct.

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This discussion may be bringing us all to a better understanding of why the medical community has a very specific and distinct definition of "celiac disease".

Just having the celiac gene does not qualify a person as having the disease. Millions of people have the genes, but never develop the disease.

Just having the symptoms and the gene does not qualify a person as having the disease. A lot of people have symptoms and may even have the gene, but are not diagnosed with the disease.

The medical community defines the disease as a person having the gene and verifiable damage from the disease by way of a biopsy.

Maybe there is a reason for this distinction afterall. Perhaps some of us have the disease and some of us have a condition, but not full blown disease.

This circles back to the question - is there really a difference between celiac disease and gluten intolerance? Maybe so. Maybe one is the disease and the other a condition.

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Why does everyone focus on the fact that gluten causes an autoimmune response? Who cares what the actual explanation for the damage is?

Seems to me that's how definitions work - according to specifics.

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Seems to me that's how definitions work - according to specifics.

Yes, but the specifics don't matter to the average person. What matters is the fact that the person gets sick by consuming this substance and the only way to prevent being ill is by NOT consuming it. When you talk about drug use, you don't ever make any reference to the effects the drug has on our body on a molecular level. We only talk about what we feel or observe.

For example, what's the difference between overdosing on cocaine and getting cyanide poisoning? Well overdosing on cocaine means the person's metabolism rises too much and causes all sorts of damage similar to what happens when one has really bad hyperthyroidism. Cyanide, on the other hand, is some kind of enzyme inhibitor that does who knows what. But who cares? The mechanisms for damage are different but the effect is basically the same -- death.

What I'm trying to say is that by this logic, this gluten intolerance is in many ways no different than an extreme solanine intolerance, for example. Oh, and intolerances can vary from person to person and population to population, so saying "well people with sprue are different from most people and are therefore diseased" isn't really a valid argument. We're all genetically unique :).

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For example, what's the difference between overdosing on cocaine and getting cyanide poisoning? Well overdosing on cocaine means the person's metabolism rises too much and causes all sorts of damage similar to what happens when one has really bad hyperthyroidism. Cyanide, on the other hand, is some kind of enzyme inhibitor that does who knows what. But who cares? The mechanisms for damage are different but the effect is basically the same -- death.

What I'm trying to say is that by this logic, this gluten intolerance is in many ways no different than an extreme solanine intolerance, for example. Oh, and intolerances can vary from person to person and population to population, so saying "well people with sprue are different from most people and are therefore diseased" isn't really a valid argument. We're all genetically unique :).

Your distinction may be sufficient for an average person on the diet in this case, but it would not be sufficient for a medical community trying to do accurate differential diagnoses and research treatment and cures.

As for the first analogy, that's exactly the reason why it *IS* important to make the distinction. Knowing how these things works tells us that celiacs should not take things like echinacea (which encourages increased immune response) if there's any chance they could get gluten while it would make no difference to someone who is lactose intolerance. How you deal with the after effects make the mechanism of action different as well, as well as understanding why crumbs and contamination are a problem.

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I think what ViktOr is trying to say (correct me if I'm wrong!) is that we should use the term "damage" rather than "disease."

Those celiacs who have been gluten-free with no other causes of damage are perfectly healthy; they do not have a disease. They have recovered from the damage. Those who have not yet gone gluten-free are still damaged. But is it a disease?

Heck, look at all those stupid doctors who diagnose "fibromyalgia" and "IBS" and call them "idiopathic diseases!" The medical community can't even stick to its own definitions here. A "syndrome" is a collection of symptoms with no known cause. Once you identify the cause, does that make it a disease? Doesn't it depend on the cause?

With us, the cause is gluten, not genetics. (Remember, there are people on this board who had villi damage but no celiac genes, and also remember that nobody with a healthy digestive system ever bothers to be tested for the celiac "genes.")

Human bodies were not designed to process the amount of gluten currently in the typical Western diet--but we're supposed to believe that the damage from consuming poison means we have a disease???????

For example, crack babies and babies of alcoholics aren't considered diseased, they are considered damaged. They are certainly not healthy--but they are not carrying any kind of disease. Their ill health was caused by an external source. We read over and over again that their tiny bodies were "poisoned" by the cocaine or alcohol that their mothers ingested during pregnancy.

Celiac is more like systemic poisoning than like, say, the flu or the common cold or tuberculosis, even though all 4 are caused by external sources.

The word, "disease" carries the connotation of communicability--germs, viruses, or bacteria. Even some cancers seem to have be caused by viruses (which is why the pharmaceutical companies are now pushing Gardasil).

I think the term, "damage" is far more accurate than "disease."

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So everyone here accepts diabetes as a disease, right?

Ok, what about the fact that a number of people with diabetes, especially pre-diabetes and type 2, are able to live without insulin supplementation if they follow the proper diet/exercise regime? So, just because they can 'cure' themselves by adjusting their diets and daily lives (like we do) they don't have a disease?

Last I checked, any autoimmune disorder (regardless of the 'trigger') qualified as a disease in the medical pantheon of definitions.

What everyone is discussing is the definition of a word. Here's Merriam Webster's version:

2 : a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms.

It says nothing about the cause. It also lists 'Celiac Disease' in it's related topics.

:)

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oh pooh it's over...

and here i was going to ask--if you take the sugar out of a diabetic do they "cure"?

i'm sorry i think of disease in the terms of some ungodly mendicant promenading the darkness as contagious as a rabid dog and breathing those little black flutters on every living thing like the Mummy . i think of a disease as the bug that sucks in after your cool exhales from flushed cheeks in the middle of winter snowball fight. you know that instance you cough and feel it tickle into your throat and system. you know you are going to be sick.

i think of the gluten as the disease, the virus, the antigen...the cause.

but sugar is not the cause for diabetes. i don't think of disease in terms of a labeling or identifying of someone's condition. my midset sees it as the poison itself, the snake, the bacteria swarming some culture to vanquish them. which may be wrong in logic and general understanding of the meaning of some insignificant word; but i was just wondering--if you take the sugar out of a diabetic do they become "normal"? if you don't infect/inject a diabetic with sugar are they going to have problems?

moreover, does not a Celiac become a contagious specimen, a diseased rat of an existence with disheveled fur and beady eyes certainly enraged and aggravated throughout its central nervous system enough to just want to kill somebody? somebody, say, who does not know a damn thing about this life yet? maybe some punk kid who's eighteen years old and has never has his throat choke up with cottony Candida. has never had his whole body envelop it, form a serious weakness that they develop definitions and categories for; an anemia that needs to be fed (but cannot) through an IV. maybe some thing that does not understand. does not understand how we can't afford anymore tests and treatments that tell 'i don't know' from professionals and experts irregardlessly unconcerned when they call up and say, "10 dollars is not enough a month sir. that will take 15 years to pay off;" when we can't afford these things that don't give answers to save us from the overdose of an unknown disease!! and not because we can't access the means and not because we fear the unknown (Lord it is thy bidding); but, because some hotshots who want to argue whether or not the chicken came first don't have any deficiencies.

and maybe this punk who we are going to kill now should be more greatful with the access here and that we can't kill him; more on his knees praising the fates that well there was no celiacs such and such years ago and now they put more wheat...and well there was no arguments!!

"I'm going to have to take er out back and shoot er chile. Don't want er kentaminatin dem chickens now do ye?"

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I see where you were going with the original question - bascially - is celiac a diseased state of the body or is it just a variant among people?

Since it comes down to interpretation of the word disease...I found this description of "disease"....I quite liked it as it even considered cultural differences...

A disease is an abnormal condition of an organism that impairs bodily functions. In human beings, "disease" is often used more broadly to refer to any condition that causes discomfort, dysfunction, distress, social problems, and/or death to the person afflicted, or similar problems for those in contact with the person. In this broader sense, it sometimes includes injuries, disabilities, disorders, syndromes, infections, isolated symptoms, deviant behaviors, and atypical variations of structure and function, while in other contexts and for other purposes these may be considered distinguishable categories.

While many diseases are biological processes with observable alterations of organ function or structure, others primarily involve alterations of behavior.

Classifying a condition as a disease is a social act of valuation, and may change the social status of the person with the condition (the patient). Some conditions (known as culture-bound syndromes) are only recognized as diseases within a particular culture. Sometimes the categorizaton of a condition as a disease is controversial within the culture.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disease

Sandy

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I see where you were going with the original question - bascially - is celiac a diseased state of the body or is it just a variant among people?

Since it comes down to interpretation of the word disease...I found this description of "disease"....I quite liked it as it even considered cultural differences...

Sandy

"Sometimes the categorizaton of a condition as a disease is controversial within the culture."

I'd say that's an appropriate comment on this whole discussion. Obviously, some people just don't like the idea of having a 'disease'. I prefer calling it that, it gets people off my back. Oh, another thing I've found helpful when at a restaurant or arguing with the people at the ticket desk at the movies is to say "you don't want to see what happens if I get any (insert food group here) in my food, that's why I have to (have food specially prepared, bring my own drink to the movies, whatever)." I make it sound worse than it is, though I'm not lying, they wouldn't want to see it, I just don't mention the fact that they'd have to wait around to do so.... hahahha.

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So what's abnormal about us? The fact that we can't consume something than humans don't necessarily have to consume and only started doing so by chance? What's the norm, really? I'm not Japanese. If I go to Japan, am I diseased because I can't genetically have their facial features? Over there, that's the norm.

Just because a certain substance hurts us doesn't mean we're diseased or functioning abnormally. We only get sick when we're exposed to what is really a poison to us. What's so abnormal about that?

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So everyone here accepts diabetes as a disease, right?

Actually, no, I don't.

My endocrinologist told me that she is now routinely testing diabetic patients for celiac via bloodwork. Those who test positive and go off gluten are able to normalize their blood sugar by being off gluten. Not off carbs, but off gluten.

It appears that at last SOME people presenting with classic diabetic symptoms actually have a problem with gluten. Off gluten, they are perfectly healthy.

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I see where you were going with the original question - bascially - is celiac a diseased state of the body or is it just a variant among people?

Since it comes down to interpretation of the word disease...I found this description of "disease"....I quite liked it as it even considered cultural differences...

Sandy

I would not be surprised if it turns out that most human beings are not able to process the amount of gluten in today's standard Western diet without their immune systems turning on their bodies, especially with the ever-increasing number of antibiotics and vaccines (with various preservatives, contaminations, and side effects) being administered. Look how many people we all know with diagnoses of autism, fibromyalgia, MS, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune thyroid disease, diabetes, etc.--ALL most likely CAUSED by gluten.

So if most people turn out to be gluten-intolerant, what does that do to the definition of celiac disease?

Edit: I totally left out Lyme Disease, which seems to cause gluten intolerance in many people here, and might even cause official eliac disease (as defined by villi blunting) for some.

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