Is gluten sensitivity the same as Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease, once considered rare, was recently listed in an article by Reader’s Digest Magazine as one of the “Top Ten Diseases Doctors Miss”. Prominent studies completed in the past two years indicate that Celiac Disease is not really rare at all, but actually quite common and can be serious. If a Celiac is not diagnosed properly, they become vulnerable to a host of secondary autoimmune diseases as well.

Tanya Nelson was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in spring of 2003, and her somewhat confused physician sent Nelson to the nearest health food market for answers. Celiac Disease, also known as Celiac Sprue, is a genetically-linked autoimmune disease in which the absorbing surface of the small intestine is damaged by gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes even oats. But as recently as 2001, this illness was considered extremely rare in this country, leaving many Celiacs misdiagnosed, under diagnosed, or simply overlooked altogether.

Approximately 1 in 4700 people in the USA are diagnosed Celiacs, but recent medical research indicates that this figure is extraordinarily inaccurate. Suddenly, the long-accepted thinking that Celiac Disease was rare has literally exploded off of the medical horizon. It is now known that approximately 1 in 133 people in this country may have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance, also known as Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, and are undiagnosed and suffering needlessly.

In Celiac Disease, nutrients pass through the damaged small intestine, unabsorbed, often creating a host of sometimes devastating health problems. Medical conditions and diseases that have been associated with Celiac Disease are: iron deficiency anemia, osteoporosis, gum problems, skin problems, Multiple Sclerosis, migraine headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, and infertility.

Celiac Disease and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity are frequently misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, proctitis,  pancreatitis, and even gall bladder disease, to name but a few. There are literally millions of Celiacs running around in this country who don’t even know they are gluten intolerant. The really significant additional concern is that all these people are simultaneously running the risk of developing secondary autoimmune disease. This, due to the fact that many Celiacs go undiagnosed an average of eleven years or even longer.

If you suspect that you may have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, it is advised that you seek a health care professional for evaluation. At Ritual, Christina will work closely with you to restore balance and improved health using acupuncture, nutrition and herbal medicine.