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Matt M.

Blood Tests And Symptoms

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Hello,

I think there is a real chance that I have cecliac disease or at least a gluten alergy. I have a GI appointment in 10 days to discuss testing. I'm trying to prepare my case for the doctor. I'm wondering if the following symptoms are commonly linked to celiac:

Changes in blood levels: While still in normal range, my Albumin levels have dropped by .6 points in one year from 5.2 to 4.6 g/dl. Also, my triglycerides and VLDL are now below normal and my LDL has risen 14 points. My sodium was also 1 point lower than the normal lower limit. I exercise daily and follow a low fat, seemingly healthy diet. I do not drink alcohol or smoke. I also have physical symptoms that include bloating, irregular bowel movements that sometimes includes both diarehhea and constipation, periodic cramps (not very often other than when constipated), and cracks on my lips and corners of the mouth. I also have some muscle fatigue and nausea. I also think my father may have had celiac, buthe never went to the doctor while he was living. My 7 year old son suffers from cramping and chronic constipation. I'll surely have him tested - especially if it turns out I have celiac disease.

I guess my question is do these symptoms seem consistent with celiac and what advice might there be on howto approach my doctor about testing? My PCP blew me off because my blood work is mostly in normal ranges.

Thank you!

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I'm not sure about the bloodwork, but the physical symptoms you describe are commonly associated with celiac disease. If your doctor doesn't listen to you and order at least two of the four types of celiac tests, then move on to another doctor. Unfortunately, very few doctors even know that a minimum of two different types of lab tests should be done to determine if a person has celiac because of the high rate of false-negatives. Even if your tests come back negative, I hope you'll try following a gluten-free diet to see if your symptoms improve...and the same goes for your son. Oftentimes, gluten sensitivity, rather than full-blown celiac, is responsible for the same symptoms. In either case, lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet is recommended. I'm so glad that you've made the connection....and, hopefully, you'll get some answers soon.

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Thank you so much. I've read that I should not go gluten free until after tests have been run. Do you agree? I absolutely plan to try 30 days gluten free regardless of the test results. I've already started testing gluten-free products and many aren't bad at all. In a strange way it's kind of exciting and a potential new chapter in my life.

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Matt,

Yes, you should remain on gluten until you're tested....but then if your doctor suggests an endoscopy just to be sure, it's up to you whether or not you wish to continue to consume gluten until that test has been done. There are experts who feel that the bloodtests, along with symptoms, are all that is necessary to diagnose celiac since endoscopies are oftentimes falsely negative (scope isn't long enough to reach the damaged sections, the surgeon doesn't take enough biopsies or is unskilled, or the pathologist may not be well trained in diagnosing celiac--too many variables that can go wrong).

Also, with regard to food, it's common for the newly diagnosed celiac to look for gluten-free processed-food substitutes for favorite or everyday foods, but many of us have found that it is better to stick to eating only natural foods for the first 6-12 months because gluten contamination is common in such so-called "gluten-free" foods. Also, fresh, natural foods are more nutritious and help you recover faster from the effects of celiac. Sometimes the xanthan gum in gluten-free processed baked goods cause bad reactions in people, too. Also, be aware that some regular processed foods are also gluten free, such as specially marked boxes of Rice Krispies and Chex cereals as well Cocoa Pebbles and Fruity Pebbles (not the kind with marshmallows, though!). Also, most Lay's potato chips are gluten free.

Here is a list of "regular" foods that happen to gluten free and that you can find at any supermarket:

http://homepage.mac.com/sholland/celiac/GFfoodlist.pdf

Lastly, many of us here on the Forum like Rudi's breads, Udi's breads and baked goods, Against the Grain baguettes and pizzas (love this stuff!!), Tinkiyada pastas, and Glutino crackers or pizzas, and Crunchmaster crackers. Even though I don't tend to eat processed foods, I do like my occasional bread, pizza, pasta, and crackers.

Good luck!

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Thank you for all the wonderful information. I love fresh food and try to avoid processed food when I can, which unfortunately is not very often. I welcome the excuse to "have to" go natural. Also, do you recommend I request a vitamin B deficiency test along with the celiac blood tests you recommend above? I'm not currently anemic, but maybe that is not a prerequisite to vitamin B deficiency. Thanks for all! Matt

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Yes, you should ask to be tested for Vitamin B-12 and Folic Acid deficiencies as well as Vitamin D.

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