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Diet Check – The Key Protein that Could be Making You Sick

Gluten-free has been a buzzword for several years. From bread to pasta to desserts, a gluten-free lifestyle is one of the most popular diet trends in the United States. One in five people claim that they reduce or eliminate gluten in their diet.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, or rye. While some remove gluten from their diet as part of a growing trend, there are a whole group of people who depend on this eating regime as a form of treatment for a chronic autoimmune disease called celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a disorder in which eating gluten triggers an immune response in the body and creates inflammation and damage to the small intestine — blocking the absorption of essential nutrients. It is also not to be confused with an allergy or an intolerance. It is much more serious and is similar to other autoimmune conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. 

One in 100 people worldwide have celiac disease. Eighty percent of Americans suffer from it and don’t even know it. Symptoms of celiac disease can build over time. The disease can present itself at any age, from infancy to even well into your senior years.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

It can be hard to separate the symptoms of celiac disease from common tummy troubles. Not to mention that there are some 200 symptoms that can be associated with the disease — making diagnosis tricky. 

In young children, some of the first signs of celiac disease can include slow growth, weight loss, diarrhea, constipation, and possibly a bloated looking belly. 

In adults, the most common symptoms include weight loss, chronic diarrhea, abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, weakness, and fatigue. 

Some of the less common but more significant symptoms can include leg numbness, muscle cramps, anemia, joint pain, ulcers in the mouth, and seizures. Celiac disease can also cause a skin disorder called dermatitis herpetiformis, which appears as small blisters on the elbows, knees, and feet.

Making this disease even more complicated is the fact that a significant portion of people will have few or no symptoms of the disease that is silently ravaging the body.

Time to Get Tested

If you suspect you have celiac disease or you’ve been dealing with health issues that don’t seem to be improving, you should get tested. Preliminary testing for celiac disease requires a simple blood test — like the one offered at Any Lab Test Now®. The Celiac Disease Panel is accurate, affordable, and available without a doctor’s prescription. You don’t even need an appointment at Any Lab Test Now in order to get tested. Once you get your results, you can share with your doctor.  

Treatment for Celiac Disease

The only treatment for celiac disease involves adherence to a gluten-free diet. Thanks to the trendiness of this eating style, there are a wide variety of foods available in grocery stores. Even restaurants cater to gluten-free lifestyles.

Gluten-free means no wheat, rye or barley, or any foods made from these grains, such as most pasta, cereal, and many processed foods. People with celiac disease can use potato, rice, soy, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, or bean flour instead of wheat flour. 

Once gluten is removed from the diet, people report feeling better within a matter of days. The small intestine begins to repair the existing damage, and the diet will protect it from further harm. 

Be at Ease

Any Lab Test Now wants you to be at ease when it comes to seeking out any type of lab work, including getting tested for celiac disease. 

We provide you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you manage your family’s healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus pandemic. We are here to help. 

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Tackling Autoimmune Disease by Cutting Out Gluten

Going gluten-free is all the rage among people trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, and restaurants and grocery stores are jumping on the bandwagon by offering a slew of gluten-free choices. But avoiding gluten is not optional for patients suffering from celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a genetic, autoimmune disease that damages the lining of the small intestine. The disease is triggered when people eat gluten, a protein found naturally in wheat, barley and rye. The disease damages the small intestine’s villi, which absorb nutrients. Approximately one out of 100 people worldwide are affected by celiac disease, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to accelerating diagnosis, treatments, and a cure for celiac disease through research, education and advocacy. Three million Americans suffer from celiac disease. It is more common among Caucasian females, as well as people with Down syndrome, Turner syndrome and type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease has a host of symptoms that vary among patients. The average length of time it takes for a person in the United States with symptoms to be diagnosed with celiac disease is four years. Going without treatment increases the risk of developing complications, including autoimmune disorders, neurological problems, osteoporosis and cancer, the University of Chicago Medicine reports. Some of the common symptoms in adults are stomach problems, like gas or diarrhea, according to WebMD, but other symptoms include:

  • Iron deficiency
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Arthritis
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Tingling numbness in hands and feet
  • Seizures
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Itchy skin
  • Mouth sores

Children suffering from celiac disease may exhibit signs of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as irritability and behavioral issues, according to the CDF.

Get Tested at Any Lab Test Now

Despite the popularity of the gluten-free diet, nearly 2.5 million Americans with celiac disease remain undiagnosed, the CDF reports. You can access the Celiac Disease Panel at Any Lab Test Now.  You do not have to fast before taking the test and you will have results to show your doctor in less than a week.

Treating Celiac Disease
Unfortunately, if you learn you have celiac disease, the only treatment is to adopt a gluten-free diet, according to Mayo Clinic. Eliminating breads and processed foods containing gluten is key to preserving the health of the small intestine. Removing gluten from the diet reduces inflammation in the small intestine within months for children and slightly longer for adults. While the intestine heals, doctors may prescribe steroids to combat inflammation.

In addition to the obvious sources of gluten, it hides in many everyday products, and even trace amounts can trigger an attack, Mayo Clinic reports. Here’s a list of uncommon products that need to be monitored for gluten.

  • Modified food starch, preservatives and food stabilizers
  • Prescription and over-the-counter medications
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Herbal and nutritional supplements
  • Lipstick products
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Communion wafers
  • Envelope and stamp glue
  • Play-Doh and similar flour-based modeling compounds

Gluten-free diets do not require avoiding all grains. People with celiac disease can enjoy a number of grains and starches, including cornmeal, buckwheat, corn tortillas, quinoa, rice, tapioca and wild rice. Many people with celiac disease find following an anti-inflammatory diet, in addition to cutting out gluten, helps reduce symptoms. The diet includes fatty fish, vegetables, whole grains and beans.

Psychological Impacts of Celiac Disease

Receiving chronic health news often causes stress, anxiety and depression. The side effects of celiac disease can cause fatigue and depression owing to malnutrition and lack of vitamin absorption. People with celiac disease report brain fog, memory lapse and headaches, as well as avoidance of social situations, according to Beyond Celiac, a patient advocacy nonprofit. Doctors recommend maintaining a regular exercise routine and receiving psychological support to prevent depression.

If you have a family history of celiac disease or are experiencing any uncomfortable symptoms, visit your local Any Lab Test Now location to get tested today.

Gluten-free: a diet for some, deadly for others

You’ve probably seen it in the grocery store or on a page of the restaurant menu: “Gluten Free” in bold letters. It’s a claim that for some people means a choice to help them lose weight or to live a healthier lifestyle. But for others it is truly not a choice and it can make all the difference to their long-term health. Is going gluten free a “choice” or a “must” for you? Your local Any Lab Test Now can help you decide.

Not a Fad but a Fact

For some people, the ingestion of gluten leads to a cascade of health problems that end with serious damage to the small intestine. These are the people who have celiac disease, a very serious autoimmune disorder. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, 2.5 million Americans are living with the disease undiagnosed…and are at serious risk for long-term health complications. Complications like malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, even certain types of cancer can occur if the disease is left untreated.

Little Protein; Big Problem

So, what happens when you have celiac disease? The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has some helpful information. Basically, when a person with celiac disease ingests gluten, their body can’t digest it and it hangs around in their system triggering an autoimmune response. That’s when the body goes on the attack! Over time, that leads to the damage of the small intestine and other potential health problems. The only way to stop the damage at this point is to avoid ingesting gluten, which is easier said than done. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye, so it shows up most often in bread, pasta, and baked treats. But this little protein is tricky! It can show up in lip balms, toothpastes, and even envelope adhesive.

Signs and Symptoms

Celiac disease is serious and you might wonder just how 2.5 million Americans can continue to live with this disease, undiagnosed? That’s because the symptoms can be so different for each person. We could fill a page with some of the different symptoms to look for in adults and children, but here are a few:

  • Anemia
  • Bone or joint pain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Tiredness
  • Abdominal pain and bloating

You can take your health into your own hands if you suspect you have celiac disease. Any Lab Test Now offers tests to help you get answers:

CICA – Celiac, IBS, and Crohn’s ArrayWant to check for a wider range? Consider the CICA test, which measures gut health on the genetic, antibody, and cellular levels. This is a much deeper investigation that can point you and your doctor in the right direction.

Celiac Disease vs. Gluten Sensitivity

Be aware that celiac disease is different from gluten sensitivity. If you have gluten sensitivity, you may have symptoms similar to those of celiac disease, but gluten sensitivity does not damage the small intestine. Any Lab Test Now offers the ALCAT 50 Food Panel to test for food sensitivity and intolerance. Check here to find an Any Lab Test Now location near you.

Why Be Gluten-Free?

People go on gluten-free diets for many reasons, but a very prominent reason is due to diseases, more specifically, celiac disease. This disease causes gastrointestinal issues as a result of eating gluten and can snowball into other health problems. This disease is misdiagnosed frequently because of its common symptoms found in other illnesses. Take Control of Your Health® and make a smart decision to go ahead and get tested if you eat gluten and feel bloated, get headaches, become dizzy or etc. Read more about other conditions that a gluten-free diet can help, here.

ANY LAB TEST NOW® offers the Sensitivity and Intolerance Test (Comprehensive Wellness 6 Panel- ALCAT). This is a simple blood test that measures the body’s reactivity to 120 items including the Food Panel and Food Additives and Colorings Panel.

Check out what Celiac Central is doing for this year’s Gluten-Free Diet Awareness month. Also, you’d be surprised at how many gluten-free recipes sound extremely delicious. Try one in honor of November, Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month! Tweet us @ATLNCorp with your favorite recipe.