Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitive? To Test or not to Test?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition which causes visible damages to the structure of the small intestine.  Under a microscope, a normal individual’s small intestine will have numerous healthy projections for the absorption of nutrients.  In  a celiac patient, the small intestine will look flattened.  Individuals with celiac disease may suffer severe abdominal, mucus membrane and skin symptoms,  with just trace amounts of gluten ingested.  These symptoms may last for weeks to months.

Gluten sensitivity is a immunological reaction which your immune cells mistakes gluten for a foreign invader (bacteria/virus) and creates an systemic attack.  The result may be similar to celiac’s but shorter lived.  In a gluten sensitive individual, the intestinal projections appears normal, however, damage to the intestinal lining still exists.

Currently there is no pharmaceutical or surgical treatment for Celiac Disease.  Complete elimination of gluten is the only relief.

Should you get tested for Celiac?

If you suffer severe symptoms after ingesting gluten, then you shouldn’t.  In order for the celiac test to be useful, you will need to consume large quantity of gluten for a week or two immediately prior to testing.

A Celiac diagnosis will not provide you with new treatment options.  Instead it will set your health back by possibly weeks (for the gluten sensitive) or months (for the Celiac).  While your intestine is damaged and irritated, you may develop new food sensitivities to compound your dietary challenge

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