September 21, 2010


Celiac's disease [the inability to absorb gluten - a component of wheat, rye & barley] is one of the most UNDER-diagnosed diseases today. Meaning: many people have it but do not know. These people have the symptoms, but are not being properly diagnosed. They are, however, commonly diagnosed with other conditions, including irritable bowel disease, fibromyalgia and ARTHRITIS. So why does it take up to TEN years to obtain a proper diagnosis you ask??? Well. The only treatment for Celiac's Disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. Nothing can be prescribed, the diet cannot be patented and so, doctors and drug companies can not make money off it. That is the sad truth.

The reason I started looking into the gluten link to arthritis was because I met someone in one of my classes who told me that she had been diagnosed with arthritis, and when she stopped eating gluten, her symptoms completely disappeared. Pretty amazing. Now, when you look at the symptoms of Celiac's Disease, which can vary from person to person, they include symptoms such as joint pain, skin problems, digestive issues and fatigue, all of which ring a bell for me personally. It is a real possibility that I may have been misdiagnosed. My research also informs me that even if I have been properly diagnosed, there is often a link between arthritis and gluten intolerance. Eliminating gluten from the diet can relieve some of the symptoms, for some people.

So I have begun my gluten free journey. I want to give it a solid two weeks to see if and how I feel differently without gluten in my diet. It is not easy!! If you are interested in trying a gluten free diet, make sure to do the research and learn how to read labels!! It is one thing to cut out bread, but gluten likes to hide in a vast array of food ingredients, like salad dressing and soy sauce. It only take 1/8th of a TEASPOON (!) to trigger symptoms, so if you want to do it you gotta do it right. Absolutely no gluten.

I used to feel sorry for people with Celiac's Disease. I thought wow, that must be tough. There's so much you can't eat. How limiting. But now, with my life experience, I would be so thrilled if I found out that this was my biggest problem. Then I would finally have something tangible, I would know what I could do to feel better! Giving up bread would be nothing in exchange for living pain free. Plus, these days there are so many gluten free options available.

I'll admit, I am getting my hopes up on this one. I am hoping that it will work for me as it has worked for so many others. Regardless, I still urge you, if you have similar symptoms, to ask your doctor to be tested for CD. You'll have to insist on it. At least to rule it out before proceeding on to bigger, badder diagnoses and treatments. Going untreated for a long period of time poses numerous long term health risks, including osteoporosis, infertility and cancer.

I will keep you posted :)