Answers from a Gluten Doctor – Part 1 Common Symptoms

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by Carol Kicinski on February 18, 2010

Meet Dr. Vikki Petersen. Dr. Petersen is a Chiropractor and Certified Clinical Nutritionist, is co-founder and co-director (along with her husband, Dr. Richard Petersen) of the renowned HealthNow Medical Center and acclaimed author of the book The Gluten Effect .

Dr. Vikki (as she is known at her medical practice) is acknowledged as a pioneer in advances to identify and treat gluten sensitivity. Recently featured in an exclusive interview on CNN Headline News, she is also endorsed by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness & The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America for her contributions to gluten awareness in our country.

Prior to becoming a doctor, Vikki was a world class figure skater, she has a fabulous marriage which has produced three great kids and she is gorgeous to boot (inside and out)! Dr. Vikki is my doctor and a very dear friend.

Despite her impossibly busy schedule Dr. Vikki has graciously agreed to participate in a series of posts for this blog answering questions about gluten and gluten sensitivity. Vikki has unique perspective when it comes to treating celiac and gluten sensitivity as she and various family members of hers are gluten intolerant. So she not only knows of what she preaches, she practices it as well.

For the first in this series I thought we should start at the beginning with the question:

What are the most common symptoms of Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance?

Well I’m glad you asked for the “most common” because if you just asked for symptoms I’d be writing a list of over 200!

For celiac the common symptoms are weight loss, diarrhea or constipation, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, failure to thrive (in children) also short stature in children, itchy skin rash, joint pain, fatigue, canker sores, tingling or numbness in hands and feet, discolored teeth or loss of enamel.

Also see if any of the following have been diagnosed by you or your children: iron deficiency anemia, depression, type 1 diabetes, Sjogren’s disease, IBS, peripheral neuropathy, Turner syndrome, dermatitis herpetiformis, infertility, osteoporosis or osteopenia, thyroid disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, intestinal cancer, down syndrome, Williams syndrome.

If an immediate family member has been diagnosed with celiac or an autoimmune disease your chances are much higher for being at risk for celiac.

For gluten sensitivity the symptoms include all those above plus more.

Those directly related to someone who has already been diagnosed with gluten sensitivity should always be tested, but those suffering with any of the following list of diseases should also get tested:

• Chronic intestinal problems
• Infertility or recurrent miscarriage
• Chronic anemia
• Osteoporosis
• Migraine Headaches
• Obesity
• Arthritis
• Memory loss
• Psoriasis
• Eczema
• IBS
• Bipolar or Schizophrenia
• Increased liver enzymes
• Low thyroid (Hypothyroid)
• ADD or ADHD
• Autism
• Fibromyalgia
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Restless Legs Syndrome
• Sleep Apnea
• Type I or II diabetes
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Any Autoimmune Disease

WOW! I don’t know about you but I was shocked and a little frightened to see how encompassing this “partial” list of symptoms is. It makes me wonder about how many people out there have been misdiagnosed or incompletely diagnosed and solutions of their health problems are not being found!

If you have any specific questions about being gluten free and you would like them answered by Dr. Vikki, leave them in the comments or you can visit her blog The Gluten Doctors.

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Categories:    Gluten Intolerance

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ninette February 18, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Would the test you get be a gluten sensitivity test?

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gfe--gluten free easily February 19, 2010 at 4:44 am

Carol, thank you so much for doing this series! There can't be enough awareness. As a support group leader, I see so many members with so many sets of these symptoms. But, there are still so many undiagnosed whether they be celiac, gluten intolerant, or gluten sensitive. Many thanks to Dr. Petersen, too, for all her efforts! I'll be sharing this post everywhere I possibly can and look forward to the other parts of the interview.

Best,
Shirley

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Tasty Eats At Home February 19, 2010 at 6:27 am

Carol – I am excited about this series. Anything to boost the awareness. It seems that so many in the medical community still believe that the only symptoms of celiac disease are those classic symptoms – that you have to be thin, frail, malnourished-looking with diarrhea. I am going to share this post with as many as I can! Thanks so much – I look forward to the rest of these posts!

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Nutman February 22, 2010 at 8:09 am

Hello Doc! I own Grand Legacy Foods and we make Flourless and dairy free cookies and we sell thousands and people will Celiac Spue tell us that they love our cookies (oatmeal based) and they have no adverse health effects, is there any reason that we should pay 3 times more for a certified gluten free oat? Thank you!

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Iris February 23, 2010 at 4:33 am

Hi Carol,

I'm passing along an award to you because your posts always make me laugh. Stop by my blog to pick it up. :)

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