5 Reasons to Get Tested for Celiac Disease or Gluten Sensitivity

It’s been three years since my initial celiac diagnosis and still it’s hard for even me to understand, let alone my family and friends. In an effort to help explain celiac and gluten sensitivity a little more and help people understand, my husband and I created this site and MyCeliacWife.com to help our loved ones understand what we’re going through and why it’s so important they get tested as well. Celiac disease and/or finding you have a Gluten Sensitivity can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you’ve finally found an answer to your woes, but on the other, no one likes change, especially when it comes to food. Some experts say that no one should eat gluten, as the human digestive system cannot digest the protein. Many sufferers of celiac disease have gastrointestinal, behavioral or mental stresses that cause pain and further disease, attacking the cells of the body.

The celiac patient gets an autoimmune-like flare-up where the body attacks itself when they eat gluten, that in some cases can last for up to 6 months when on a gluten-free diet. The body attacking itself puts it under stress, causing anxiety, mood swings, pain and more. Interestingly, stress is a major cause of autoimmune flare-ups. If we notice others who express similar aches and pains or show symptoms and representations of the disorder, we can’t help but recommend you get tested. We feel the diagnosis saved our sanity and our lives. Celiac disease is genetic and if you’re genetically predisposed, staying away from gluten, or at least severely limiting it in your diet is a very good idea. But why should you get tested, especially if you’re not expressing any symptoms?

Below are 5 reasons why you should get tested if a family member has been diagnosed with Celiac disease:

1. TO SUPPORT YOUR LOVED ONE.

Being the only one diagnosed with a genetic disease that your family doesn’t research, acknowledge or understand is very disheartening. Not having the support of loved ones when going through a major disease can be detrimental to healing and cause major setbacks. Stress is a major cause of healing setbacks. A celiac body is constantly under stress, they’re stressing over their health, their food and yours, because they want you to stick around, too. Support your loved one by getting tested, it’s a simple blood test, not a whole deal. If you have the genes, you most likely have an intolerance to gluten, even if you don’t present any symptoms. (Feeling tired a lot lately? Bedroom performance issues? Avoidance? Low or no motivation? Angry thoughts that spiral out of control? Yup, all symptoms.)

2. TO EASE YOUR OWN AILMENTS

If you’re not a big fan of your loved one, help yourself. If you’re experiencing frequent sicknesses, earaches, headaches/migraines, gas, bloating, lethargy, autoimmune disorders, seizures, epileptic episodes, muscle spasms, restless legs, hair loss, the list goes on, any and/or all of these could be caused by a leaky gut and/or gluten sensitivity or intolerance. Even if you claim to not have any ailments, if you’re gaining weight, losing weight, encountering skin issues, feeling anxious about going out, needing a drink, or a few, every time to feel relaxed, you could have a gluten sensitivity. While these could all be related to other things, they are all also related to celiac disease. Get tested, if only to rule it out.

3. TO LIVE A HEALTHIER & HAPPIER LIFE

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye, grains that were brought in to cheaply feed the masses. The body doesn’t digest these grains or convert them into energy when you have the Celiac gene and many people experience body, mood and behavior changes. Do you have an issue with focusing on a conversation or just going with the flow? Do you get bothered by the little things, and turn them into big things? Or maybe you don’t get bothered enough by the big things? In me as a kid, it presented as anxiety and mood swings, frequent illness and swollen glands. It led to eventually being stored as fat in my teens and 20s. My whole body got puffy, people called me fat, I was the “big sister” in more ways than one. Once I cut out the gluten, I was able to maintain a reasonable weight and the puffiness went away. Now people say I’m too skinny. I’ll take it!

4. TEST THE KIDS – PROTECT FUTURE HEALTH & WELLBEING

This is key, and should probably be #1. If you know at an early age, you can fend off many of the possible issues that could happen if the gluten is kept in the diet. Kids are getting sicker, more are coming down with cancers and seemingly incurable diseases at younger ages. Humanity is being eaten alive from the inside out. If you keep the intestines intact and eating good, organic, healthy foods, the body is strong enough to fight off invaders and illnesses. By knowing early, you significantly reduce the instances of illness throughout life. Do it for your kids. It might be hard at first, but it’s worth it in the long run. Here are some parents at the celiac.com board that talks about how to explain celiac disease to a 4 year old. Kids understand more than we give them credit for, it may be easier than you think.

5. FIGHT FOR LIFE

Celiac disease isn’t the end of the world, it’s the beginning of a new life. A more balanced, happy life, where the little things don’t bother you so much and stress is easily handled. To feel full of life and wanting to live the fullest life possible, no matter your situation. Yes, it’s a life-changing diet. Yes, it’s difficult to understand. Yes, it’s more expensive. All these all seem like scary or worrisome things, but if more people are diagnosed and on a gluten-free diet, there are more happy bellies, and the demand for gluten-free food at lower costs would follow suit. The hardest part is losing the convenience of ordering out all the time. It’s not bad unless you don’t have support from your friends and family. Support your family, support yourself – get tested.

Some additional resourceful links:

Screening for Celiac Diagnosis

Self Test for Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance

How to Talk to Your Family About Getting Tested for Celiac Disease

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