Saturday, May 23, 2009

Celiac Disease and/or Gluten Sensitivity is in my Family

My Doctor Told Me Not to Worry About Getting Tested

It continues to be a source of frustration that patients who have celiac or gluten sensitivity in their family are often told by health practitioners to not “worry about” getting tested themselves. Let me be clear by stating that I in no way think such practitioners are purposefully being irresponsible.
They are uninformed and stuck in a model that says that unless the patient they’re meeting with is underweight and complaining of severe digestive complaints, it’s unlikely that they would be gluten sensitive or have celiac disease.

And THAT is the problem that prevents literally millions of Americans from regaining their health. The idea on the part of the doctor that he or she “knows” what a patient looks like who is gluten sensitive, literally keeps millions suffering and undiagnosed.

So let’s look at the various symptoms associated with gluten sensitivity:

Crohn’s disease
Thyroid disease
Memory loss
Dermatitis Herpetiformis
Liver disease
Lactose intolerance
Short stature

If clinicians knew the above list to be accurate, do you think more people would be getting diagnosed? Absolutely!

So join me in increasing awareness. Our book The Gluten Effect was designed to be read by the layperson and brought to their clinician to increase that person’s awareness. That is why we included over 400 endnotes of scientific references at the back of the book.

It was written for you, your friends and family. Let’s share the truth and stop the suffering.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Author of The Gluten Effect

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Draeger’s Gluten-free Extravaganza

Drs Vikki and Rick Petersen were invited to the Draeger’s store in Danville, CA for their Gluten-free Extravaganza. There were many gluten-free food vendors enticing participants with their delicious treats and Drs Petersen were answering questions from an eager crowd regarding treatment and diagnosis of gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

The Gluten Effect by Drs Vikki and Rick was prominently displayed and a book signing occurred as part of the event. Draeger’s is now carrying The Gluten Effect in their stores as they are very committed to educating the community about the dangers associated with undiagnosed gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

Draeger’s is a family-owned store and truly a delight to visit. Drs Petersen had the opportunity to meet several members of the family and were very impressed with their commitment to the gluten-free needs of the community. They have a large array of gluten-free offerings.

Support this local family-owned store and encourage them to keep thinking “gluten-free”!

To your Good Health

Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of The Gluten Effect: How “Innocent” Wheat is Ruining Your Health

Friday, May 08, 2009

Gluten-free Goes Mainstream!

My daughter has frequently said to her friends that the day you can walk into a Starbucks and find a gluten-free goodie, gluten awareness will have reached a good level.
Well I’m not convinced that gluten awareness is anywhere near where it needs to be but Starbucks has come through in supporting the cause.
This week Starbucks released its Valencia Orange Cake and gluten-free consumers everywhere let out a cheer. I would have been thrilled with anything gluten-free they produced purely on principle, but the fact that it’s delicious, not made from any grains (they use almond flour) and the sugar content is moderate, makes it all that much better.
I’m not a fan of coffee for my patients but do go into your local Starbucks and purchase a cake…and some nice green tea!

To your good health!

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of The Gluten Effect

Monday, May 04, 2009

Diagnosing Gluten Sensitivity: Are You or Aren’t You?

Gluten Sensitivity: How to Diagnose
Excerpt from The Gluten Effect, Chapter 21.

As science has learned how gluten affects the body and the immune system, diagnostic testing has also rapidly evolved. Today, there are several blood tests that were not available two decades ago. Advances have mostly occurred in being able to detect specific antibodies. While these antibody tests are very important, they also have limitations of which you will need to be aware. In this chapter, we will discuss all the available tests as they pertain to gluten sensitivity and what information you are likely to receive from other clinicians. Additionally, we will demonstrate the shortcomings of these tests and some fallacies in common practice among clinicians when assessing the presence of gluten sensitivity.

Before we start, there is an important concept that must be stressed. For many decades, Celiac disease was felt to be the only health disorder related to gluten sensitivity. It was not until recently that an abundance of information revealed multiple health disorders related to gluten sensitivity that are distinct from Celiac disease. Celiac disease is defined as a type of gluten intolerance that damages the small intestine and causes villous atrophy. If you recall, small intestine villi are the small finger-like projections that help us absorb nutrients from our diet. In Celiac disease, these villi are severely damaged and shrink. This is labeled villous atrophy.

Because Celiac disease was thought to be the only gluten disorder, the definitive diagnosis of Celiac disease has been an intestinal biopsy to show villous atrophy. What we now realize is that Celiac disease represents a fraction of all gluten related disorders. Despite this, many clinicians believe a biopsy must be performed to diagnose gluten sensitivity, and if negative, they believe this effectively rules out a gluten disorder. This is absolutely not true!....

To find out more read The Gluten Effect: How “Innocent” Wheat is Ruining Your Health.

The recent good news is that Elisabeth Hasselbeck wrote a book called the G Free Diet. It should definitely increase awareness of celiac disease, an illness that she personally suffers from.

The bad news is, I’m afraid, that more people will follow down her personal trail of diagnosis and be told, incorrectly, that they’re fine because they don’t have celiac disease.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled that awareness of the disease will increase. Considering 1 in 133 people suffer from celiac and only 3 to 5% of that group of millions have been diagnosed, there’s obviously a lot of work to do. But I’m an advocate not only for that group but the millions upon millions more that fall into the little known gluten sensitive group. Those that won’t have a positive intestinal biopsy but will still be suffering from a sensitivity to gluten – those at risk for not only digestive disturbances, but autoimmune disease, obesity, fatigue, skin problems and cancer.
So thank you Elisabeth, for shining a spotlight on celiac disease – many will benefit. But for the rest of you (40% of the population by estimate!) get the data on how best YOU can get diagnosed.

Let me know if I can be of any help.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Author of The Gluten Effect
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center