Monday, April 26, 2010

Lab Test Interpretation for Celiac and Gluten Sensitivity

What do you do when your doctor is uninformed?

The question below came from a listener of my recent virtual book tour. It was a bit horrifying to read, I must tell you. Unfortunately I see this type of poor advice given often, but it doesn’t make it any less palatable.

Here’s the question:
“I had positive deamidated gliadin antibodies but did not have any celiac-specific antibodies... my doctor did not recommend I go gluten-free. What does this mean and where do I go from there?”

The deamidated gliadin antibody test IS a celiac-specific test. It is believed to be more sensitive than the traditional tTG test and that is why it is being used more broadly. As you may know, one of our biggest concerns is to have those suffering from celiac and gluten sensitivity diagnosed as soon as possible. Early diagnosis will help to prevent a tremendous amount of suffering, ill health and secondary autoimmune diseases.

Unfortunately this person’s doctor didn’t seem to know what the purpose of the test was and as a result didn’t recommend that a celiac patient remove gluten from their diet! What a tragedy…

On the bright side, I was happy that this individual attended the virtual book tour and shared her question. Now she knows what the test means and will remove gluten from her diet. This will not only improve her current health status but will also hopefully protect her from developing future problems such as autoimmune disease.

Situations just as this occur all too frequently. While such ignorance may not be intentional on the part of the doctor, it is ignorance none the less and the effects it creates can be devastating. We see it here at our clinic, unfortunately, all too often. A patient came in just last week with undiagnosed dermatitis herpetiformis (a skin condition related to celiac disease) who was told that the reason her skin looked the way it did was because she had a psychological problem and she was prescribed antidepressants. Fortunately a friend helper her to find us and we KNOW that her problem is not a mental one.

The bottom line is that it is critical to find a clinician who is really informed about celiac and gluten sensitivity. Here’s a test question for your doctor: Ask him or her if they would recommend removing gluten from the diet due to suspected gluten sensitivity even without the presence of celiac. If the doctor states there is no reason to eliminate gluten from the diet if celiac isn’t present, then find a new clinician. This may sound harsh but I want you to be healthy. There is too much needless ill health from undiagnosed gluten intolerance

I know that I’m located in California and not all of you are. But I do want you to know that I am more than happy to help you locate someone to help you if you are unable to visit us here.

To your good health,

Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect

5 comments:

Tibby said...

I would very much like help in finding a celiac-friendly doctor in northern New Mexico.

Anonymous said...

I am also looking for a doctor in New Mexico that has experience with celic or gluten intolerance

Paula K. said...

I would very much like to know if there is a Celiac Specialist doctor in Southeast Georgia or Northern Florida or even Southeast South Carolina? (I live in the Savannah, Georgia area). Thank you very much!

Paula K. said...

Do you know of any Celiac professionals near the Savannah, Georgia area? I would be delighted if you could help me find one, and thank you very much.

The HealthNOW Doctors said...

Dear Paula, Tibby and Anonymous,

While I don't personally know of any doctors in those areas, I can suggest two things:
1. Visit the Institute for Functional Medicine online. They have a 'find a practitioner' tab that can perhaps help you. Not all the doctors are experts in gluten, so you need to ask.

2. Here at HealthNOW we are a destination clinic and people visit us from all over the world. After your first in person visit, you can work with us long distance over the phone.

If you'd like to receive a free health analysis, consider calling us at 408-733-0400.

Best,
Dr Vikki