The Enemy on Your Plate
In 1982 shortly after her daughter was born, Leah Edelstein began experiencing bloating, cramping, and severe diarrhea that would not go away. Then one night, fear gripped Edelstein and her husband. “I was paralyzed on both sides of my body.” The couple headed straight to the emergency room. “Everyday I was there I had a different diagnosis. For two weeks the doctors kept saying that I had a malabsorption in the body.” Edelstein found out that she had Celiac Disease (CD).
We have all heard the expression “you are what you eat,” but for almost 1 in 130 Americans, her diet could be literally making her sick. CD is a highly misdiagnosed disease that many people have but don’t know. Some reporters say that while awareness is increasing, as many as 95 percent of cases are undiagnosed.
When a person who has CD consumes gluten – a protein found in wheat, rye and barley – it causes the individual’s immune system to attack the small intestine. The very tiny finger-like threads called villi become damaged and stop absorbing nutrients. Most patients experience bloating, diarrhea and a red bumpy rash called Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH). Less than 10 percent of patients with DH have gluten-intolerant symptoms; yet, if you have DH, you always have Celiac Disease.