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I Wonder If My Dad Has Dh

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I was just diagnosed with celiac disease a month ago. But my dad has had a pretty severe rash on the tops of his hands and fingers for years now. It's bright red and itchy and bumpy in places. He has tried pretty much every cream and hand lotion out there. He finds some relief with intense treatments and wearing gloves. But nothing makes it subside that much. He has flares when it gets worse but it never fully goes away. He's had a dermatologist tell him it was excema, that was a few years ago.

I'm trying not to over-diagnose all of my family members hehe My mom has RA and has already decided to put herself on a gluten-free diet. I'm wondering if my dad should get a biopsy of his skin or just try the diet and see (since my mom is going on the gluten-free diet anyways). How long (at the most) after being on a gluten-free diet should his symptoms improve?

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First, I would have him get a dh biopsy before going gluten-free but he has to have a derm who is very experienced in doing the dh biopsy. And IF HE is POSITIVE he would stay on the gluten-free diet w/o a dx of dh then he could go gluten-free now.

Have you compared his rash to pictures of eczema? Have you looked at the photos in the dh photo bank?


It would help if you could take a photo of his rash & post it here for us to see.

Okay, the standard everyone is different statement applies to how long it may be before he sees a difference.sad.gif Losing dh is not an overnight thing. You see, the antibodies stay in the skin for up to 2 years (some sources say as much as 10 yearshuh.gif). It's not like having the celiac GI issues & you go gluten free & begin to see a difference pretty quickly. DH should show some response in 2 weeks to 1 month BUT it may take longer & I'm not talking about it totally disappearing. DH is extremely sensitive to the smallest amt. of gluten so dh'ers must be terribly vigilant about cc. MOST of us with dh find that we have to limit iodine intake for a time as iodine fuels the dh rash. And dh can go into & out of "remission" any old time it pleases gluten-free or not. When one goes gluten-free they may still have the rash for years. It may wax & wane & it may totally clear at times but it also can flare with a vengeance at any time. Stress is a big factor in flares also. I know I'm giving you a lot of double talk here & you may say, "Well, what help is that?" But you & your dad & mom need to know the truth. I'm going to say your dad should have a good idea that gluten is a factor inside 1 month. If there is no improvement in that time then he should try the low iodine diet. http://www.thyca.org/rai.htm#diet

He should give that a good 2 weeks & in that time should notice a big difference happening --- first, it will stop itching or mellow to a great degree. If that does not happen then what he has may not be dh at all.

I don't think he should go low iodine as well as gluten-free right off the bat. The reason is that he needs a little time gluten-free FIRST before he tries low iodine. Let those antibodies settle down a bit gluten-free for say a month & then try the low iodine. Again, every one is different in the time it takes from going low iodine. For instance; I notice a difference happening in 3-4 days low iodine whereas my husband doesn't notice a difference till around the 10th day low iodine.

And finally, the rash your dad has may still be connected to gluten. It may be a dh precursor. He will know if that's the case.

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I was having a bumpy rash on my hands too before I went gluten free. My bloodtest was negative and I still don't have the biopsy results, yet. The dermatologist didn't even mention DH or biopsy so I went gluten for 3 months ago to see what happens and the rash has improved a lot but from time to time still cracks and bleeds and most of the time still itchy. It used to look like this at its worst: http://i.imgur.com/eTiZl.jpg. The daily ups and downs make it difficult to see the overall improvement so I would recommend you taking a picture of your dad's rash now and look at it a few weeks/months later while trying the gluten-free diet. Doing the biopsy before starting the diet would be a good idea, too.

My grandfather has also had 'eczema' on his palms for most of his life and sometimes I realize that I'm scatching my hands in the exact same way as he does. Nothing really has helped him with the rash so I wouldn't be surprised if he had celiac, too. I think it's important to raise consciousness about celiac desease in your environment but you also need to accept if not everybody is ready for living a gluten-free life... :)

Good luck!

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