Dr. Rodney Ford, pediatrician and author of The Gluten Syndrome, provides us with an excellent and easy-to-follow video that tells us how to know if we need a gluten test.
This short presentation explains which symptoms to look for and tells you the tests you need to to request to find out if gluten is making you sick.
Dr. Ford estimates up to one third of people with chronic diseases are being affected by gluten and sums up why people do not ask to be tested. "We are so used to being sick that we don't know we're sick." People think they have always been this way, so they do not know to ask.
He then establishes a great litmus test to determine who should be tested - "People who are sick, tired or grumpy should be tested."
The blood tests to request from your doctor are:
- Anti-gliadin antibody test (AGA-IgA, AGA-IgG) - this test tells you if your body is reacting to gluten itself. Read more about the AGA test here.
- Anti-tissue Transglutaminase Test (tTG-IgA, tTG-IgA) - this test tells you if your body is reacting to damaged cells along the lining of the intestine. Read more about the tTG test here.
- Deamidated Gliadin Test (DGA-IgA, DGA-IgG) - although not in the video, this is a new test that tells you if your body is reacting to gliadin that has been changed to be absorbed into the body. Read more about the DGA test here.
Three important factors about symptoms stemming from gluten not covered in the video include:
- Gradual Changes: Changes in health or personality could have occurred long ago, even in early childhood, and over time. A happy, gregarious baby turns into a quiet, irritable child. An outgoing child turns into an withdrawn teenager. A confident teenager turns into an anxious adult. Like personality, symptoms can change. Chronic diarrhea becomes chronic constipation. Underweight becomes overweight.
- Hereditary Symptoms: Children get their genes from their parents. Just because your mother or father was plagued by a certain symptom or symptoms does not mean that you must be. Gluten may have caused his or her constipation, fatigue, anxiety or eczema and may be causing yours. That a doctor did not figure out the underlying cause, does not mean a cause does not exist. Do not accept the diagnosis, "Well, your mom has it, so you got it from her."
- Deadly Serious: Symptoms from gluten must be taken seriously. Osteoporosis and diarrhea are commonly described in medical literature but osteoporosis can seem far away and diarrhea can be misunderstood as a trivial bother. Other immediately terrifying symptoms, due to malabsorption of nutrients and/or gluten sensitivity reactions, can strike in childhood or adulthood: childhood stroke, mental disorders, cancer, liver failure and heart disease.