The longer sensitive individuals eat gluten, the more likely they are to develop other autoimmune diseases
A 1999 landmark study published in Gastroenterology found that the duration of exposure to gluten in celiac disease patients affects the risk of developing other autoimmune diseases. The finding made age at diagnosis an important factor in the overall health of patients with celiac disease.
For the study, an Italian research team screened 909 patients with celiac disease for other autoimmune diseases, including IDDM (Insulin-Dependent Diabetes Mellitus), DH (Dermatitis herpetiformis), Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, autoimmune hepatitis, alopecia, atrophic autoimmune gastritis, connective tissue disease (rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, dermatomyositis, scleroderma, or Sjogren’s disease), psoriasis, Addison’s disease, unexplained cerebellar ataxia, epilepsy with cerebral calcification, or immune anemia, neutropenia, or thrombocytopenia. They then compared the prevalence of these conditions in three different subgroups, which were separated based on when the patient was diagnosed with celiac disease (before age 2, between ages 2 and 10, and after age 10).
The team found that the prevalence of the other conditions was highest in the subgroup of patients diagnosed after age 10. Similarly, patients diagnosed between ages 2 and 10 had a higher rate of other conditions than those diagnosed before age 2. This suggests that the prevalence of autoimmune conditions increases with increasing age at diagnosis of celiac disease (ie, increasing duration of exposure to gluten).
The researchers’ chart below demonstrates the frequency of developing other autoimmune diseases.
The authors concluded: “Indeed, the age at diagnosis of celiac disease is the single best predictor of the prevalence of autoimmune disease.”
The sensitivity and specificity of the testing is paramount in findind gluten sensitivity at a young age. The typcial medical test for gluten sensitivity is accurate mainly when there is total villous atrophy of the small intestine. That's like going to the dentist and they can't tell you have tooth decay until 90% of the tooth is missing. Dr. Karl R.O.S. Johson, DC at Johnson Chiropractic Neurology & Nutrition uses state of the art Cyrex testing developed by Dr. Aristo Vojdani, a world renowned immunologist.
If you found value in this article, please use the social sharing icons at the top of this post and please share with those you know who are still suffering with chronic condition symptoms despite having medical managment. Thank you, help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living!
All the best – Dr. Johnson – Digging Deeper To Find Solutions
Ventura A, Magazzú G, Greco L; SIGEP Study Group for Autoimmune Disorders in Celiac Disease. Duration of exposure to gluten and risk for autoimmune disorders in patients with celiac disease. Gastroenterology. 1999;117:297–303.
The body of research surrounding gluten sensitivity grows every year alerting the medical community and people suffering from a wide range of symptoms to possible connections between seemingly untreatable medical conditions and gluten intolerance. Of note recently is the growing recognition of gluten sensitivity and gluten ataxia, a neurological condition affecting balance and coordination.
For decades, the medical profession has limited diagnosis of gluten intolerance to those patients who tested positive for celiac disease via an antigliadin antibodies test or endoscopy. Those patients who tested negative on these tests were told they didn't have celiac disease (CD) and that gluten was not their problem. The traditional medical mindset is celiac disease manifests primarily in gastrointestinal distress. Modern research shows that for every symptomatic patient with CD there are eight patients with CD with no GI symptom
Now we know, however, that gluten intolerance covers an entire range of symptoms including celiac disease, dermatitis herpetiformis (skin conditions associated with gluten sensitivity such as psoriasis or eczema), thyroid irregularities and other inflammatory and neurological conditions. In fact, a good number of people with gluten sensitivities don't have any gastrointestinal symptoms at all leading some doctors to disregard gluten as a root cause of symptoms.
In all cases, however, the body attacks gluten and resulting in a wide range of symptoms. Gluten ataxia is one of those symptoms caused by gluten sensitivity that may or may not be seen in conjunction with gastrointestinal distress.
By definition, ataxia is a condition affecting your muscle coordination during voluntary movements like walking or using your hands. Ataxia can also affect speech, your eyes and your swallowing reflex. Those who suffer from ataxia may find it difficult to grasp objects, walk up and down stairs, balance or successfully navigate doorways without running into them. On the extreme end, ataxia can drive patients to wheelchairs, prevent people from working or even interfere with the body's swallowing reflex.
Diagnosing gluten ataxia has been slow. Most often, doctors look for other underlying symptoms of ataxia including head trauma, stroke or multiple sclerosis. Additionally, few in the medical community have embraced the notion that a person without gastrointestinal symptoms could have a gluten sensitivity manifesting in other ways.
The work of Dr. Marios Hadjivassiliou in researching gluten ataxia has played a key role in encouraging patients to ask their doctors about this manifestation of gluten intolerance. Dr. Hadjivassiliou has documented correlations between ataxia and a heightened immune response to gluten. His work also pushes doctors to look beyond the gut when diagnosing gluten sensitivities.
Patients with unexplained coordination and balance problems should ask their doctor about the possibility of gluten ataxia whether they suffer from other known manifestations of gluten sensitivity or not.
Seeking a Cure
Eating a strict gluten free lifestyle can alleviate many of the symptoms of ataxia, just as the lifestyle can help those who suffer from celiac disease and skin conditions caused by gluten. It is also important for those who suffer from gluten ataxia to work with someone in the medical field who understands their diagnosis and will work with them on the root cause of the ataxia. The brain heals much more slowly than the intestinal tract and those with ataxia may take longer to heal and see a true remission of symptoms than those with primarily skin or bowel symptoms. A doctor specializing in gluten sensitivities and who takes a holistic approach to medicine is best suited to working with sufferers of ataxia.
Hope and help is out there for the growing number of people discovering the extent of gluten sensitivity including balance and coordination challenges stemming from gluten ataxia. The key is going to a doctor who knows how to properly test you so the root cause of your health challenge can be found.
Thyroid problems can often be found in those that also have been diagnosed with lupus or fibromyalgia. Lupus, fibromyalgia and thyroid problems share similar symptoms, and all are difficult to diagnosis from each other. It's hard when all one can tell a doctor that is that something is terribly wrong. To make matters worst, symptoms might change on a daily basis, and symptoms for all three illnesses can vary with patients. There does seem to be a connection with those getting diagnosed with one of these illnesses and having two of them, or lupus, fibromyalgia and thyroid problems.
The thyroid is an endocrine gland in the front of the throat. It makes necessary hormones T3 and T4 that regulate metabolism. Even slightly higher (hyperthyroidism) or lower (hypothyroidism) amounts of these hormones can cause significant health problems. Symptoms can include weight gain or lose, depression, anxiety, fatigue and insomnia, to name a few. Thyroid problems are diagnosed with a blood test for the thyroid hormone levels of T3 and T4. However, sometimes an individual can have borderline levels of these hormones and still have symptoms. Dr. Johnson uses functional ranges in blood tests using concepts in functional medicine. Our functional ranges are more "tight" than traditional average blood lab ranges that you see reported on your test results. We input your blood test result into a special Blood Nutrition™ software program. Using a functional ranges is one of the "secrets" to why Dr. Johnson can unravel the mystery of the patient's illness, that other doctors have not had success with. Another secret is using the methods developed by Dr. Datis Kharrazian to find out if you have one or more of the 24 patterns of thyroid malfunction.
Fibromyalgia is one of the most difficult of the illnesses to diagnose. Often a doctor will simply eliminate other problems such as thyroid illness or lupus. There is a limited test where pain near 12 joints in the body is tested. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include mainly fatigue and joint and muscle pain. However, a number of other varying symptoms can be found in patients. Fibromyalgia and thyroid problems may easily be connected and hard to tell apart from one another at borderline thyroid hormone levels.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease where the body's immune system attacks tissues in various parts of the body. Internal organs such as the lungs and kidneys can be attacked. The linings of the organs can be attacked causing a host of overall pain in the body. The symptoms can vary greatly but mainly include skin rashes, photosensitivity, mouth ulcers, chest pain or problems breathing, neurological problems or blood disorders, as well as fever, fatigue and hair loss. Some of these symptoms are very close to those with fibromyalgia and thyroid problems. Diagnosis of lupus is done by testing for high levels of antinuclear antibodies. As with the thyroid hormone level tests, borderline levels of antinuclear antibodies may still cause health problems.
There has been studies that indicate those with lupus may be more likely to develop thyroid problems. Since thyroid illness can also be an autoimmune disease, this connection makes perfect sense. Today fibromyalgia has only a limited test as nothing physiologically can be found connecting all patients with the disease. But, because of the common symptoms, one suffering from thyroid illness or lupus might also have fibromyalgia even if a doctor can not diagnose it.
Fatigue, pain and symptoms that can occur in all three illnesses connect lupus, fibromyalgia and thyroid illnesses. Not all doctors might see the connection and instead only treat one or two of these diseases, then wonder why a patient is still experiencing problems. The connection between the illnesses is something that Dr. Karl Johnson and other like-minded doctors are looking into. With the advent of specialized testing developed by Dr. Aristo Vjodani, which are available at Johnson Chiropractic Neurology & Nutrition, we are finding a possible link.
One of the most important concepts that set Dr. Karl Johnson apart from other traditionally trained doctors is his "treat the patient, not the diagnosis" approach to patient care. Johnson Neuro-Metabolic Therapy is a mulit-pronged diagnostic and treatment approach whose goal is to balance body chemistry, reduce imbalanced in brain function and mitigate the effects of stressors on the body. In short, we “dig deep” to find out the underlying cause to your chronic condition nightmare.
If you found value in this article, please use the social sharing icons at the top of this post and please share with those you know who are still suffering with low thyroid symptoms despite having medical managment. Thank you, help me reach more people so they may regain their zest for living!
All the best – Dr. Johnson – Digging Deeper To Find Solutions