Saturday, June 18, 2011

Are you gluten diseased?

When we are unwell, we look for a diagnosis for our illness/disease. Say we have been diagnosed with the ‘flu’. We get better and so we no longer have the flu. We are well.

In my question on facebook I asked, Why are you Gluten free? In the options I wrote "I had celiac disease". I used the past tense because when you go GF you should no longer be diseased. I want to talk about health, not disease.

Why do people use the description “celiac disease” when they are now fully recovered? Yes, they need to be gluten-free life-long. Yes, if they eat gluten they will get diseased again.

People could say “I am a healthy celiac”

What do you think?

Cheers Dr Rodney Ford


  1. I think it is very difficult. I know I spend my entire life avoiding being sick, and I have to say, I am not really putting coeliac disease in the past tense for me yet.
    I have constant pain in my muscles, bones, always weary, brain fogs.... The list goes on.
    I do hope that one day I will be a healthy coeliac. But it hasb't happened yet, after 7 years gluten free. Was dx at 55. That may have some effect on my slowed recovery.

  2. I LOVE this outlook, Dr. Ford...and you are so correct! I am not diseased...I am perfectly healthy, even healthier than a great percentage of the population (I just might live to 1000 at the rate I'm going, LOL!).

  3. Hmm, interesting concept.

    There is "diseased" - used as an adjective - in my non-medically trained brain, I interpret this as "you are afflicted and have symptoms caused by a medical aliment" .

    Then there is "disease" used as a noun. Merriam-Webster defines Disease as: "a condition of the living animal or plant body or of one of its parts that impairs normal functioning and is typically manifested by distinguishing signs and symptoms."

    So in celiac, you have the "disease" [noun], but once remove gluten, you should no longer be "diseased" [adjective].

    Interesting you use the word recovering. Perhaps this could be viewed like alcoholism?

    Medicine considers it a disease.
    It's believed that it can not be cured - but you are recovering from it.

    Yes, I suppose one could say "I'm a healthy celiac" or "a recovering celiac" when looking at it from a health/well being stand point.

  4. I don't think eating a toxic substance should be called "disease". Perhaps it should be called "gluten poisoning". Of course eating gluten can result in disease and symptoms. Most of the time the disease and symptoms that gluten causes will resolve once it is removed. Sadly, sometimes the damage is too great for full recovery.

    I have also found that it may take more than being gluten free to get to optimal health.