Celiac Disease is a scary diagnosis and many people initially feel overwhelmed, confused, uninformed and alone. There are so many people, including some medical practitioners, who do not understand celiac, which makes it even more difficult. The purpose of this website is to help people get diagnosed and to navigate the process of being diagnosed.
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CeliacSwitch

Celiac Disease is a scary diagnosis and many people initially feel overwhelmed, confused, uninformed and alone. There are so many people, including some medical practitioners, who do not understand celiac, which makes it even more difficult. The purpose of this website is to help people get diagnosed and to navigate the process of being diagnosed.
...

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease (CD) is not an allergy. It is an autoimmune disease that causes an immune reaction to ingesting gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Over time, the immune reaction to eating gluten creates inflammation that damages the small intestine’s lining. You may hear the phrase damaged, or blunt, villi which are tiny projections in the small intestine whose function is to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food you eat. If you have celiac disease, there will be malabsorption of some nutrients, which leads to health complications.

Another common ailment is Leaky Gut Syndrome (LGS), or intestinal permeability. LGS creates gaps in the intestinal walls that allow harmful bacteria and toxic substances to escape into the bloodstream. This also causes similar symptoms to CD, and can make you feel very sick. To improve Leaky Gut, the first step is to heal your gut by avoiding inflammatory foods, like gluten. Getting a food allergy and/ or food intolerance test will help you know what other foods to avoid.

It is so important to be properly diagnosed with Celiac Disease as the damage can be detrimental to your health. It is a simple blood test to identify celiac markers. Please ask your physician for a test if you have any symptoms!

My Story

Like so many others, I have had a very long journey from the time I started feeling chronically sick until now. It took me 7 years to be diagnosed with celiac, and I had several doctors tell me there was “no way” I had celiac. In hindsight, I had all the classic symptoms and was told many inaccurate ways to cure my aliments.

About Celiac Disease

Symptoms

Symptoms vary so greatly from person to person and from children to adults. Aside from obvious gastrointestinal symptoms, others include fatigue, rashes, itchy skin, acne, thinning hair, anemia, unintentional weight loss, lack of growth in kids, ADHD, even diabetes can coincide with celiac. If you or your kids, or friends are not getting better on a current protocol, please ask your doctor for a celiac blood test. It takes an average of 7 years to be diagnosed with celiac, and misdiagnosis are common.

Testing

Do not go off of gluten before a blood test. Please ensure your doctor can give you any and all information and necessary tests, such as vitamin deficiencies, anemia, and any other autoimmune disorders. If your blood test comes back positive, find out who your doctor is referring you to and what to do in the interim, such as go off or stay on gluten.

Going GF

Once you are ready to go gluten free, the first step is understanding there is a difference between gluten free and celiac. With celiac, any trace of gluten can cause a reaction for weeks or even months. Part of celiac disease is to heal the damage in the villi of the small intestines, and the starting point is complete elimination of gluten. This includes cross contamination, which is where traces of gluten can attach to other food. An example is cutting a loaf of bread with a knife and using that knife on a gluten free piece of bread. Or using the same toaster or cutting board. It is easy to have food cross contaminated. Also, when purchasing packaged food, reading labels is key. Food that may be gluten free can be processed on equipment that is shared with gluten. Look for packages with GF on the front.  

Eating Out

The best option is a dedicated gluten free restaurant, but this is not always realistic! I like to call ahead to a new restaurant and ask about gluten free options and if they are familiar with celiac. At the restaurant, you will probably need to tell the server even if you call ahead. And just order the safest option- fried foods are almost always cross contaminated due to the oil in the frier. Dressings and sauces can have gluten, so stay away from those if you’re unsure. Plain food is usually best, but check with the manager. In Charlotte, there are not many dedicated gluten free restaurants so I have a few trusted places I will eat out.

Additional Resources

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