Gluten Sensitivity Is More Than Celiac
Psych presentations frequently have treatable underlying medical problems:
This is the first in a series of celiac and gluten sensitivity reports taken directly from an interesting series of posts by Dr Scot Lewey, a gastroenterologist who “gets it” with gluten sensitivity. and regularly reports on the downstream psych and neurological effects. In this post he describes why and how we miss this important medical consideration.
This summary comes from a group of excellent posts at Ezine Articles.
“Doctors frequently fail to diagnose a very common condition known as Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. The average delay in diagnosis is 11 years in adults. There are several reasons for this delay. Celiac disease was once considered to be rare and affect only young children. This is what most doctors practicing today were taught in medical school and they are unaware of how the spectrum of Celiac disease has changed.
“Screening blood donors only recently confirmed Celiac disease occurs in 1 in 133 people in the U.S. Most physicians are unaware of this for several reasons:
“Celiac disease is treated by a gluten-free diet not a drug. Drug companies subsidize much of the continuing medical education received by doctors and most of the medical research in the United States. Without drug company money and marketing, Celiac disease does not appear in medical journal ads or get mentioned by drug reps detailing doctors. It is rarely a topic of major conferences or research grant proposals. It is a disease that is largely “out of sight, out of mind” for most doctors.
And in addition:
Doctors who actually remember Celiac disease envision in their mind a
very young, pale, emaciated child with skinny limbs and a big
“potbelly” like the picture they were shown years ago in medical
school. The medical history linked with this image is a malnourished
child that is not growing and has numerous, bulky, and foul smelling
diarrheal stools. Surveys of primary care providers have confirmed that
most are unaware that Celiac occurs in adults. If they do think it
could occur in adults they do not believe it can occur in someone who
is overweight and constipated or has no intestinal symptoms.
I frequently see these kids in my office with thin limbs, potbelly, exhaustion, signs of chronic fatigue and ADD, and a disproportionately big head. They may or may not have depressive symptoms. Measurable adrenal fatigue often appears with these symptoms.
Back to Dr Lewey’s post:
Some docs lack awareness that symptoms such as fatigue, bone and joint pain,
headaches, and skin rashes are common in Celiac. Most are also unaware
that it is associated with other autoimmune conditions like thyroid
disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Malabsorption
complications such as anemia and osteoporosis are often not recognized
as common presentations of untreated Celiac disease. Over 250 symptoms
involving nearly every part of the body have been reported in Celiac
disease. Unless you provide your doctor distinct clues such as a family
history of Celiac or mention the possibility that you think you might
be gluten sensitive they do not even consider the possibility of it to
be the cause of your being ill.
As you know from my own previous posts I have frequently been addressing the gluten sensitivity part of the picture, as full blown celiac with all the positive bowel findings and undeniable positive labs often occurs much later in the disease presentation [or not at all].
Stay with us more on gluten sensitivity and specific testing soon.