Dude note: To help celebrate and promote Celiac Awareness Month, I will be writing 30 blog posts over 30 consecutive days (weekends excluded) with the theme “30 Days of Helping 30 Celiacs”. Each post will be aimed toward helping one specific person or group of people. If you or someone you know needs help, guidance, advice or a shoulder to cry on, please contact me and I will do what I can to help. On the 31st day, you’re on your own. Totally kidding.
Today’s 30 for 30 blog post is for: Those celiacs with little or no symptoms.
The year before my diagnosis, I lost 15 pounds and had incessant stomach aches. Those were pretty much the extent of my symptoms.
Now granted, I had tons of other health issues that may indeed be connected to celiac disease, but as far as direct symptoms go, I consider myself pretty fortunate as I have heard nightmare stories of what people have gone thru prior to their diagnosis.
Ironically, there are times now, five years later, that I feel worse than I did before my diagnosis. Yeah…go figure. Crazy disease.
Anyway, what if you are one of the many who suffer “silent celiac disease”? You’ve been diagnosed yet you exhibit no symptoms. And that makes cheating “just this one time” so much more tempting.
Read on for this fellow celiac’s story and her interesting question…
I just recently found out that I have celiac disease after getting an endoscopy and the thing is that after reading about how other celiacs feel after eating gluten I feel like I do not have celiac disease.
I’m sorry if I’m not making sense.
What I’m trying to say is that even though the past few months have been hard, my system needs more than just a bite of gluten to get properly sick. I’m not exactly sure how much my insides are getting damaged but I took toppings of my pizza and had them and felt fine afterwards.
I’m concerned that because I don’t get as sick as many celiacs do and I don’t worry that much about cross contamination, I may be representing the celiac community in a bad way which I don’t want to because I have read about the horrors that other people face.
So even though I have been told that I have celiac disease and my villi have been damaged to an extent, is it possible that I only have gluten intolerance?
In a word…doubtful.
Unless you had a pretty inept doctor, I would surmise that your diagnosis is correct and you do indeed need to be completed gluten-free for life.
And remember…no symptoms does not mean no damage is being done. And if damage is indeed being done, you could be in a world of hurt before you know it.
What kind of hurt, you say? I’ll let Dr. Alessio Fasano spell it out for you.
“Untreated celiac disease can be life threatening. Celiacs are more likely to be afflicted with problems relating to malabsorption, including osteoporosis, tooth enamel defects, central and peripheral nervous system disease, pancreatic disease, internal hemorrhaging, organ disorders (gall bladder, liver, and spleen), and gynecological disorders. Untreated celiac disease has also been linked an increased risk of certain types of cancer, especially intestinal lymphoma.”
Need I say more.
And while I totally appreciate you being concerned about representing the celiac community well, put that focus on what YOU need to do to stay healthy.
I know…reality bites ;)