If you think you have celiac disease there are some important steps to take right away. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that can cause long term health problems. Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment will change your life.
Step #1 Get Tested for Celiac Disease
Many people who think they might have celiac disease treat it by cutting gluten out of their diet. Their symptoms disappear, and they feel better. However, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis first. Why? Because the test for celiac disease is a blood test. They look for antibodies in your blood. It’s called the tTG-IgA test or Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies test. There’s also a few other ways to test for Celiac Disease, and I wrote about those here.
According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, the test is positive in about 98 percent of patients with celiac disease. However, if you’re not eating gluten, then the test will not show any antibodies. If you’ve been eliminating gluten and your doctor wants you to have the test, you’ll have to eat gluten for one to three months, and you’ll have to eat a lot.
If you’re suffering from symptoms, the last thing you probably want to do is keep eating gluten. So get the test before you quit gluten.
Step #2 Keep a Food Journal
While you’re waiting for your doctor’s appointment, start keeping a food journal. Take notes on what you eat and the symptoms and side effects that you’re experiencing. Common celiac disease symptoms include:
- Bloating And Pain
- Chronic Diarrhea
- Weight Loss
- Attention And Memory Issues
These are just some of the symptoms. In fact, there are over 300 symptoms of celiac disease. You may notice bad breath, insomnia, acne, depression and much more. Keeping a journal will help you get clear on your symptoms. Also try to write down when you believe the symptoms started. You might realize that you’ve been having issues off and on for years.
Step #3 Eliminate Gluten
Whether you get a positive result from your test or not, once you’ve met with your doctor and you have more information, getting gluten out of your diet is a logical next step. If you didn’t get a celiac diagnosis, but you suspect that gluten is the problem, then you might try an elimination diet. This type of diet cuts gluten from your diet for a few weeks. You then carefully introduce gluten back into your diet and pay attention to how your body responds. If you start experiencing symptoms again, you know that gluten is the problem.
Finally, learn to read labels. If you have celiac or gluten intolerance or sensitivity then even the smallest amount of gluten can cause serious health problems. Gluten is in condiments, including mustard and soy sauce. It’s in some lunchmeats and sausages and a wide variety of foods. If you suspect that you may have problems with gluten, get tested and start finding answers. Your health and wellbeing depend on it.