Oh the great things you get from your family: funky toes, early gray hair, bad eyes, crooked teeth…They are all things we learn to live with (or fix with hair dye, braces and glasses). And as much as families may not want to hear this, if you have celiac disease in the family there is a good chance you or others could also have it.
In my family here’s how the story goes. My daughter, Emma was diagnosed with celiac at 15 months old. Shortly thereafter, I was told my great aunt (on my dad’s side) had celiac and had lived with it for about 40 years prior to her diagnosis. Fast forward 8 years and suddenly my brother was diagnosed with it (in retrospect we should have been more onto it with his symptoms of massive fatigue and unexplained liver disease). And now my dad is gluten free. Doctors always tested him for celiac when he’s been gluten free (despite our asking them to wait until he was on gluten again) so the results haven’t been accurate. The symptoms he had are now improving.
Yep. When my daughter was diagnosed I had never even heard of celiac. Now three of my closest family members have it. It is no surprise I suppose. According to the Center for Celiac Research, 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease (about 97% are undiagnosed). The chances of a person having celiac disease increases exponentially when there is a family history: 1 in 22 for first-degree relatives (parents, siblings) and 1 in 39 for second degree relatives (uncles, cousins). I am sure if you recommended they be tested for celiac disease they would instantly tell you they don’t have stomach troubles or diarrhea so they don’t need to get tested. But the reality is, only 35% of folks diagnosed with celiac disease presented with the “tell-tale” diarrhea.
Celiac Disease Symptoms
So what are some of those other symptoms? They run the gamut. Because your small intestine isn’t absorbing the nutrients it needs to be healthy, the symptoms of celiac disease can manifest themselves in many different ways according to the Mayo Clinic:
- loss of bone density, osteoporosis
- joint pain
- acid reflux/heartburn
- stomach pain
- tingling in the hands and feet
- weight loss or weight gain