Sunday, April 25, 2010

Celiac testing, etc

Kara's skin rashes have prompted me to do a lot of reading in addition to the diet modification. Here's a summary of the important points to help those reading understand (hopefully).

1) Celiac disease testing occurs in two stages. The first stage is a blood test. The second is an upper-intestine endoscopy done, which takes a small piece of her intestine and sees if the villi are damaged.

2) If Kara's rash is indeed from celiac, it is called dermatitis herpetiformis. Testing for DH is done through a dermatologist, and if it is proved by this test, no further testing for celiac needs to be done, since DH cannot occur without celiac being present in the first place.

3) These test require a diet of constant wheat exposure for 2-4 weeks before they can be completed in order to be valid, and have the best chance of a proper result. They also don't work properly for children under 3 because their digestive systems aren't fully developed. So we keep Kara off wheat for another 2 years and then work on getting referrals, blood tests, etc.

4) It is recommended that all members of a celiac's direct family are tested as well, such as parents, siblings and children. Some doctors recommend that secondary family (cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, etc.) get tested as well. It seems that studies show having a celiac relative makes your chances of also have celiac 1 in 22. (Normal occurrence rates are approx. 1 in 132.) This means that Mark, Chloe and I should probably be tested, especially since I think my sister Alie may also have celiac.

Please remember that Kara is not confirmed celiac. However, until we get her tested, we are treating her as if she has it so that people at public places such as restaurants have a chance of understanding what her condition is, and what kind of help we need from then. It also means we're eating out a lot less, which is good for the pocketbook.

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