Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Day 120 - Celiac Disease

“Celiac disease is caused by an immune reaction to gliadin, a specific protein that is a component of gluten.
Gliadin closely resembles the enzyme tissue transglutaminase which is present in the tissue of the small intestine. When food containing gluten, and thus gliadin, is eaten, the body's immune system whilst attacking the food protein also attacks the tissue of the small intestine due to its tissue transglutaminase content.

This immune response causes an inflammatory reaction that leads to flattening of the villi, the brush-like filaments that line the walls of the small intestine. The villi greatly increase the surface area of the small intestine and therefore increase the absorption of nutrients. The damage caused in celiac disease results in serious problems absorbing nutrients from food.

The grain most associated with celiac disease is wheat. This is due not only to its gluten content but also to the fact that it is a staple in most western nations.

The disease most often effects people of European (especially Northern European) descent. Rates amongst people of African, Japanese, and Chinese descent are much lower. This is thought to be due to a combination of less genetic susceptibility and low wheat diets.”*


I decided to do a celiac test. Just in case.

A friend has had the condition for years and suggested I take a test. Celiac disease manifests itself in different ways, but a general feeling of malaise is common.

Headache can be one of the symptoms, and come to think about it I eat wheat on a regular basis. When I was small, a vega test had confirmed that I was wheat intolerant, and should avoid it where possible.

There is therefore a possibility of having celiac disease.

I went to see my GP last week. This time I only briefly explained my symptom(s) (I pointed out the “headache specialist” and the neurologist’s letters as “proof” in order to avoid the usual spiel), and asked to be put forward for a celiac test.

This morning I got my blood test result: celiac was negative, but the kidney results were abnormal. Finally something!

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