Since May is National Celiac Disease Awareness Month, it is the perfect time to discuss the importance of being tested for celiac disease before trying a gluten-free diet. Despite the fact that many people are eating gluten-free for various reasons, 83% of people with celiac disease don’t know they have it! In order for the celiac panel blood test to be accurate, you must still be regularly eating gluten.
Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease, not a food allergy, so it is not part of standard food allergy testing. For a person with celiac disease, eating wheat, rye, barley, or contaminated oats damages the villi of the small intestine, causing malnutrition and complications such as osteoporosis, infertility, and cancer. With over 300 symptoms of celiac disease, almost any health condition could be a symptom of celiac disease.
Celiac symptoms can be misdiagnosed and some people with celiac show no symptoms. Ask your doctor to test you for celiac disease and encourage your friends and family members to do the same before trying a gluten-free diet. The only treatment for celiac disease is a lifelong 100% gluten-free diet. The good news is that there are now tons of delicious certified gluten-free foods, including NuGo gluten-free protein bars.