I recently had the chance to send several interview questions to nationally-recognized expert on gluten-free living, Danna Korn, about gluten intolerance. Danna is author of Living Gluten-Free for Dummies, Gluten-Free Cooking for Dummies, Gluten-Free Kids, and several other books about being gluten free.
She’s been researching celiac disease since her son, Tyler, was diagnosed with the condition in 1991. That same year, she founded R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids), the largest support group in the country for families of children on a gluten-free diet.
Dana is currently partnering with General Mills on its gluten-free initiative, GlutenFreely.com.
My questions for Danna about celiac disease
- Is celiac disease an allergy to gluten, a sensitivity to it or something different?
- Are there varying degrees of celiac disease? Are some people more sensitive to gluten – and have more severe symptoms – than others with it?
- Do people with celiac disease ever get better or “cured”?
Here are her answers:
Celiac vs gluten sensitivity
I’ve been cooking gluten free for my mother-in-law for over 10 years. Celiac disease affects about 3 million Americans and as many as 1 in 20 Americans have some kind of gluten sensitivity.
Last year I was diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity (and many other food sensitivities) after having an ALCAT test. I knew I didn’t have celiac disease since the biopsy that was performed during my endoscopy came back negative.
According to Danna’s book, Living Gluten-Free for Dummies, I can get away with eating gluten from time to time. However, for people with celiac’s, they must avoid gluten for the rest of their life. If they don’t, they risk damage to their small intestine, which can cause poor absorption of nutrients, as well as a host of other health issues from headaches to infertility.
Symptoms of celiac disease are vast, and include headaches, fatigue, weight loss or gain, gastrointestinal distress, joint pain, and even infertility. Many of the symptoms of gluten sensitivity/intolerance and celiac disease are similar, which is part of the reason why so many people are misdiagnosed. 97% of Americans estimated to have celiac disease are not diagnosed.
Most people who have celiac disease don’t know it. Could you be one of them?
Disclosure: I received a review copy of Living Gluten-Free for Dummies