Could You Have Celiac Disease?
Do you find that after you eat pizza, pretzels or cookies you get an upset stomach or become tired? Do you have a problem with recurrent canker sores in your mouth? Or, do you get unexplained itchy blisters on your skin? Well, those are all symptoms of celiac disease. It's estimated that three million Americans have the ailment and yet only a small percentage of us are aware of it.
If you have celiac disease, gluten, a component of wheat, rye, and barley, sets off an immune reaction that attacks your intestine and can affect the entire body. Celiac sufferers are unable to properly absorb essential nutrients because the villi (those wavy “fingers”) in the small intestine have been damaged or destroyed.
Unfortunately, doctors often miss the diagnosis because celiac disease causes a wide range of problems including diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, distention, weight loss, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, skin problems, fatigue, even migraine headaches. Any of those symptoms could be mistakenly diagnosed as another illness.
One clue is that celiac disease runs in the family. If you have it, you inherited the tendency to get the disease from your parents. If one member of your family has celiac disease, about one person out of ten other members of your family is also likely to have it. You may have this tendency for a while without getting sick. Then something like severe stress, physical injury, infection, or surgery can "turn on" your celiac disease.