Coeliac Disease Is Not An Allergy. – It Is An Auto Immune Disease.
Coeliac disease can effect every organ in your body. Lifelong adherence to the gluten-free diet is the only treatment for coeliac disease. Approximately 20% of people with coeliac disease do not respond to the gluten free diet. Luckily for me, I am seeing benefits since starting this ‘treatment’/diet. I am also receiving lots of questions relating to it.
‘What is it?’
I was guilty of hearing the word ‘coeliac’ and assuming it’s a person with an allergy or an intolerance to foods. I was wrong. It is an auto-immune disease, triggered by the ingestion of gluten & other similar proteins, all found in wheat, rye, & barley. Coeliac disease is distinct from both allergies and intolerances.
Basically, people with coeliac disease, their body has an immune reaction that gluten prompts. The body attacks itself, damaging the small intestine. It can also create a rapid inflammatory response that attacks other parts of the body, such as joints, skin & nerves to create coeliac symptoms around the body.
How I like to explain all of that is;
In a round about way,
Picture gluten like a lawnmower, picture swallowing the mower. Now picture the villi (little finger like structures in the small intestine) , they grab on to all the nutrients from foods that we have eaten, to absorb them for our body’s to run on.
Stay with me;
Now because I have ingested gluten ‘the lawnmower’ , it has cut my villi down to butts just like a mower does to grass. The villi function can no longer work. I can now no longer absorb what my body needs.
It takes weeks/months for this to repair. To allow my intestine to heal I need to be 100% gluten free or else I just get sicker as time goes on. My body is in fight mode and my immune system is crashing due to being triggered by gluten, and my body begins to starve of goodness & nutrients.
So, I have an auto immune disease that can be kept under control once I stay away from triggers. Gluten, is a trigger, not the cause.
‘How did I know something wasn’t quite right?’
Well, I had persistent symptoms which only got worse & worse over time. I was totally washed out & completely floored with constantly being ill.
- Unbearable stomach pain daily.
- I had awful fatigue. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open even after a nights sleep.
- Constant headaches
- A rash that over time became an all over body rash.
- Both vomiting & diarrhoea completely draining me.
- Joint pains, Leg Pains which I still suffer with & can keep me awake.
If you’re suffering with any problems, its best to listen to your body and speak to a doctor.
‘ Are you better now’
I am so much better than I was. My stomach feels somewhat normal again. Going gluten free has made a HUGE improvement. I still suffer with my legs & headaches. The goal is to feel better in any way you can. Ultimately the ‘goal’ is to heal the lining of the small intestine. This can take up to 2 years. I will get routine bloods, scopes and work with a dietician. The only ‘treatment’ for the disease is to avoid gluten for life.
Coeliac disease is now known to be a common condition that affects approximately 1 in every 100 people. I AM THE ONE.
Women are 2-3 times more likely to develop coeliac disease than men. (Of course we are 😏) Cases of coeliac disease have been diagnosed in people of all ages. ALL.
However, there is a major lack of awareness of the condition in this country, with the result that many people with it have not & may never be diagnosed, according to the Coeliac Society of Ireland. Early Diagnosis Lowers Chance for Developing Another Condition.
I have answered a range of questions on my last post ( Click Here ) in regards to how I feel about it. I admittedly have to say, I was unaware as many are, until it was happening to me!
Ex Oh (xo)