Many people suffering from various health issues, which commonly often include skin problems and gastro-intestinal symptoms, are actually undiagnosed food allergy sufferers. One of the most common food allergies left undiagnosed and untreated is celiac disease. It is also one of the most common chronic health disorders in western countries, affecting over 3 million Americans.
“Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms.” (Source)
How Do You Know If You Have Celiac Disease ?
The tricky thing about food allergies is that they can present such a wide spectrum of symptoms that can vary greatly from person to person. Doctors office visits for skin rashes and stomach problems often end with a prescription treating the symptoms rather than the source of the problem.
Most people never even consider that food allergies may be the cause of their health problems because they usually haven’t made any recent changes in their diet. They think ” I can’t be allergic to wheat or diary, I’ve been eating it all my life.” This is precisely the point though. Many of the people suffering from from food allergies have had symptoms for years. While at times these symptoms are prominent other times they made be hardly noticeable.
Something else to keep in mind is that people who have food allergies are not always born with them. My girlfriend suffers from celiac disease, but didn’t notice any symptoms until she was in her mid twenties. The same was the case with her brother, who was also diagnosed with celiac disease.
After visiting with several doctors and doing her own research on the subject, she came to the conclusion that she was born with the celiac disease trait, but that it was dormant until she was in her twenties. Until then she was misdiagnosed many times as having acid reflux disease. Her Dermatitis Herpatiformis was also misdiagnosed as being herpes.
What Are The Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease ?
My girlfriend suffered from a lengthy list of symptoms which included:
- Herpatiformis (skin rash from gluten)
- Abdominal pain
- Acid reflux
- Weight gain
- Shortness of breath
After going off gluten, her symptoms began to clear up. She is still in the healing process though, due to the fact that the villi in her intestinal tract were damaged by gluten. This makes it much harder for her to absorb the nutrients in her food. According to her doctor and the online gluten free community, it could take over a year for the body to fully recover. While she is still recovering, it is clear that gluten was causing the symptoms she was experiencing.
In the vein of sharing her experiences so that others may benefit – she has created her own personal blog at MyGlutenFreeQuest.com. It is is something that she’s put a lot of her time and herself into. If you have celiac disease, food allergies or gluten intolerance there’s a good chance that you can learn some really valuable things from her blog. It covers things such as symptoms, gluten free recipes, vitamins and supplements, workouts and much more. Her goal is to help as many people as she can and give everybody who is suffering someone to relate to and identify with. The mental aspect is so import in taking the right steps toward healing.
She probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed until much later on if it hadn’t been for her older brother who already discovered that he had celiac disease. Recognizing celiac disease can be difficult because some of its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. Celiac symptoms can include the ones listed above as well as the follow symptoms listed on the NIDDK website:
- Abdominal bloating and pain
- Chronic diarrhea
- Vomiting Constipation
- Pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
- Weight loss
Food allergies are more common than most people think. If you’re someone with a long and mysterious list of health problems that just wont seem to go away, you may want to get tested for food allergies. Getting a blood or skin test can tell you whether your symptoms are food allergies or something else.
John McKiernan is a health and fitness writer who blogs at SupplementHelper.com