Browsing Category My Diagnosis

This is your Brain. This is your Brain on Gluten.

We don’t fully understand the immune system.  We recognize, realize, and know that it is a defensive system; it sees a threat and attacks.  It senses a virus and alarms sound, “Intruder! Intruder!”

It raises body temperature to make the environment unlivable for viruses and bacteria.  It releases histamine, fighter cells, white blood cells and so many others in effort to regulate the body system and maintain homeostasis.

What happens when the immune system stops seeing invaders and begins to see itself as the invader?  This is the simplified version of what happens in the celiac.  Gluten comes in, spurs a response, immune cells go crazy and attack the person with celiac rather than the gluten.  The average person consumes 10 to 50 grams of gluten per day.  The FDA label guidelines for gluten free products is a gluten allowance of less than 20 ppm.  A celiac reacts to less than 20 ppm – what is happening in the undiagnosed celiac?

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Flipping the Switch – Turning Celiac On

For many people, this has been their lives.  They’ve had symptoms from the beginning – and sometimes, they’ve never known they had symptoms.  Me?  My celiac story isn’t quite like that.  If you didn’t start off with celiac disease, the theory is that stressful events are the culprit.  It’s basically like turning on the lights in the house – Celiac walks in the door and opens all the lights.  Your HLA gene has turned on.

I got lucky.  My primary care doctor had, two weeks before I got SUPER sick, been to a conference on celiac.  He said, “your symptoms aren’t normal but let’s just check.”

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