Let’s say Johnny goes out with his good buddies like any other Friday night for a pizza outing. They all have a wonderful time, pizza was excellent as usual, Johnny pulls out his best jokes at his friends, and then many laughs later ending the night with a stuffed belly. Then Johnny finds himself at home not having a fun time, he feels bloated, nauseated even, he begins to wonder maybe I ate too much? Things started to take a turn for the worst, he starts getting sweaty, his body signaling him for the safety of his toilet. Johnny survives the night brushing it off as over eating no big deal. With life moving forward however, Johnny notices a familiar pattern of that Friday night. The occurrence being so frequent to now have a cause for concern. Johnny’s life style hasn’t changed besides typical young adult stress but eating seemed to always land him on the toilet. A trip to his doctor and blood test showing the tTg antigen positive, the first clue to his new diagnoses. This leads to a biopsy of his small intestine by doctors’ recommendation, leaving Johnny with a worried expression. What was wrong with him? The results are in, finding out that Johnny is diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Something he never even heard of and a disease non-the less why all the sudden? What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is a gastronomic autoimmune Disease that is an autoimmune reaction to a protein in gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye. At least one out of 100 Americans have celiac. Most of them don’t know it, states Joseph Murray a gastroenterologist and professor of medicine. (Murray) According to “The New England Journal of Medicine” Celiac was originally considered a rare malabsorption syndrome of childhood, celiac disease is now recognized as a common condition that may be diagnosed at any age and that affects many organ systems. (Peter H.R. Green) There is much to be discovered in this disease that is becoming more common than it once was. The fact that genetics plays a role intrigues me on a personal level. The knowledge I’m gaining on Celiac Disease or CD for short will hopefully serve as an awareness on how it may affect you or a loved one, the causes, and treatments.
As mentioned CD is caused by an interruption of a certain genes called HLA DQ2 or DQ8 causing an autoimmune reaction to gluten proteins. The interesting part is even though it is considered a gastronomic condition, somebody can have it and show no symptoms, and might show a reaction at any age as studies now suggest. So, can CD be triggered? Murray informs us that in fact “30 percent of the population carries one or more genes of HLA DQ2 or DQ8 and many of us eat gluten without getting celiac, so he suggests something triggers it— infection, injury of the intestine, surgery, drugs, or something else.” (Murray) Take my story of Johnny for example he’s been eating gluten his whole life then maybe his “teenage stress” was the trigger for the genes he already had. I used “Johnny” as a fictional reference to a personal one. The father of my child is diagnosed with Celiac Disease. His case is like my fictional one of Johnny for he’s only been diagnosed by a “trigger” for the last 10 years at 19. An interesting fact that confirms the information from Murray stating how in fact injury can be a trigger. His doctor concluded the stress events in my child’s dad’s life causing ulcers were the onset culprit of his CD trigger.
Knowing that CD is a genetic condition that affects a person at any age what does this mean for family members? Since CD is hard to diagnose most shouldn’t be concerned unless the symptoms occur. It’s really an illusive disease that can happen at any time in a person’s life with a list of symptoms that may or may not affect a person. As a mother of a partner of CD this means my son has a possibility to have the genes. According to the “Celiac Disease Foundation” “first degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) should be screened for celiac since the chance of having it is 1 out of 10 compared to the rest of the population of 1 out of 100.” (Celiac Disease Foundation) Symptoms of Celiac can include vomiting, bloating, chronic diarrhea, abdominal pain, failure to thrive in children, irritability or behavioral issues. In adults however, the symptoms can be more problematic such as depression, anemia, bone and joint pain, possible osteoporosis, itchy skin rash, and migraines on top of the other symptoms I’ve listed. (Celiac Disease Foundation) With a life long commitment of eliminating gluten from your diet is the only accessible remedy of elevating onset symptoms.
Since there’s no cure what does it really mean to change your lifestyle to a strict non-gluten diet? There’s a controversy of a gluten-free diet falling under a pseudoscience for most people following the next diet “fad” thinking it’s a healthier option. In fact, the GF(gluten-free) diet came around after it’s real purpose for those with CD or gluten intolerance. According to Jonathan Mike an assistant in the exercise science program at Lindenwood University Gluten-free was becoming the diet to try by being publicized by celebrities such as Dr. Oz painting the picture of Gluten-Free to be a better option. The attention this brought to the public caused sales to skyrocket according to market research firm Mintel. With this knowledge Mike implores the products of GF was becoming the new suggestive marketing scheme such as products that claim to be “Fat-Free” doesn’t necessarily make it better for you. (Mike) Although this “fad” has been observed through a placebo effect resulting with a mind over matter result. The study showed how if you expect a certain result your mind will choose that to happen. For example, with many fitness instructors on board to push a GF diet to give you weight loss results Mike believes in fact it’s just their lifestyle being changed altogether without tangible evidence of the absence of gluten being the cause. Does this mean the naysayers of gluten being the better option? The obvious answer is no for those who have Celiac.
My partner made a comment of how when he was first diagnosed two interesting things happened. First off, his friends made snide remarks on how it’s just a phase he’s following the “fad” diet of being gluten-free. The second was his case of CD alarmed his doctor because it was and is a severe case of symptoms he has. Let’s discus the “fad” diet part. With any weight loss diets its sheep following the heard from one to the other as I represented by Jonathan Mike. In fact, according to a 2010 survey online nationwide nearly 46 percent said they generally thought “gluten-free” was a healthier option. (Murray) Although it can be a diet to help lose weight in some cases without accurate measurements for results, regardless gluten-free options are becoming more available for those with Celiac and Gluten intolerance alike as Mike recalled. I’ve personally noticed this firsthand from when I’ve first been introduced to the disease being with my partner I noticed the increase of products in more than just health food stores. Now you can even find products and ingredients to bake with that are labeled gluten-free in Wal-Mart. As I mentioned earlier about the symptoms of CD and the only treatment is a gluten-free diet, with a diagnosis that isn’t life threatening but uncomfortable there is the rare risks and cases I would like to shed light upon. Studies show that there is in fact be two categories type 1 and type 2 of CD. In the rarest of cases effecting only 5 percent of the population of CD there’s a condition called Refactory Celiac Disease. This condition affects a patient with severe symptoms like abdominal pain, bleeding, and anemia. It also can lead to ulcerative jejunitis which is an occurrence of ulcers. (Peter H.R. Green) With a severity of symptoms besides sticking to a gluten-free diet one can fall under this category. It’s one to be aware of for those of CD because it’s the only condition that has a small possibility to cause cancer. This brings me the second occurrence that was diagnosed to my partner. He hasn’t been diagnosed with Refactory CD technically but his severity symptoms mirror that of the condition which keeps my close eye on my beloved.
In my personal life having a partner with the disease does take a challenge in everyday life nutrition. For example, he must be cautious of reading product labels for containing wheat, barley or rye otherwise risking a night with the toilet. Simple couple restaurant dates becomes a yelp search for places that serve gluten-free dishes and asking how the food is prepared. One of the biggest challenges for CD patients isn’t just avoiding gluten however, it’s finding the substitutes for the vitamins your missing. For some this might not seem like a big inconvenience but when it comes down to your health and well-being it can be a costly price to pay. Some examples of ingredients for gluten substitutes with vitamins are Amaranth, sorghum, tapioca, rice, quinoa, arrowroot, and buckwheat. (Turner) Fortunately there is national websites for the CD community dedicated to CD patients with reliable resources that can help you out with dealing with the disease. One revealed by Melinda Dennis a nutrition coordinator is called CeliacNow.org it can help those on a gluten free diet or wanting more information. The one Dennis mentions that I found very useful is TriumphDining.com she notifies us that it’s a website that lists grocery stores, food sources, and restaurants across the state. (Mushlin)
Celiac remains a very interesting disease that continues to be growing around the world with better detection. Causing those effected to a life of changed eating diets, one can overcome CD. As I fall under a community of supporters of Celiac alike for those also living with loved ones of the disease striving to bring awareness to finding ways to cope or eliminate the triggers of Celiac Disease.
Celiac Disease Foundation. https://celiac.org/celiac-disease/understanding-celiac-disease-2/celiacdiseasesymptoms/. n.d. This website contains information for those with celiac disease and glutnen intollerence alike. It has usful information such as what symptoms
to look for, recipes, and support. I’ve used it in my report for symptoms listed and the reliability
of the website is information credited by a national board of directors and medical board.
Mike, Jonathan. https://www.elitefts.com/education/gluten-for-punishment/. 29 August 2014. 2017. Elitefts.com is a website for nutrition and healthly lifestyle through excercise. It contains podcasts, articles on all kinds of sports training, couching,etc. Elitefts has been
recognized in all the major fitness magazines, and even boxing journals. I’ve incorporated Mike for his input of the “naysayers” of the “fad” of gluten free. I found this cite from google scholar.
Murray, Joseph. “Gluten-Free Confusion: Separating fact from fiction.” Nutrition Action Health Letter (2011): Vol. 38 Issue 7, p6-11. Joseph Murray is a gastronomligist in the disscusion in Gluten-Free Confusion:separating fact from fiction. It’s a discussion of what Celiac Disease is, causes, treatments, an awarness discussion. I use Murray as creditable information of statistics of the disease. Found on EBSCO.
Mushlin, Stuart. “Celiac Disease and Gluten Free: What’s Real and What’s Myth?” Medical Roundtable: General Medicine Edition (2013): Vol. 1 Issue 4, p312-322. This is a great medical disscusion about all the aspects of Celiac Disease. It’s very knowledable from professonal medical standpoint with somebody actually having the Diease in the discussion. I’ve only taken a sliver on information of a useful website that was recommended in the article. Creditable source EBSCO.
Peter H.R. Green, M.D., and Christophe Cellier, M.D., Ph.D. “Celiac Diease.” 25 October 2007: 1731. This is a medical article of what celiac diease is. It breaks in down scienfically and the aspects of the disease and how it effects your body. I found it very informative to
look at it from the scientific view, an useful to me to state the rare side of type 2 Celiac Disease. Found on Google Scholar.
Turner, Lisa. “The Gluten Free Handbook.” Better Nutrition (2009): Vol. 71 Issue 10, p36-40. This is a small article I used in a book for a list of products that are gluten free alternatives. It’s tells you about how to go about gluten free and a small overview of
what it is. Found on EBSCO.