Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tired all of my life - got no tests

A sad story - 31 years sick

I have been helping one of my patients dads. His name is Chris and he is 31 years old. I have been investigating his son - who was sick, tired and grumpy.  It turns out that his son is gluten sensitive.
But Dad also had the same symptoms! He said:
“I’ve been tired all my life - constantly tired and moody. I can't think or concentrate properly, I was questioning my intelligence level when at school and struggled with concentration.”
“I have done so many things to try and keep up my energy: being fit, drinking lots of water and eating the best I can. However, I was always lacking in energy.  I just thought that's who I am. It has been a constant battle for me. I never feel fresh.”
“I thought I was normal. And, yes, my bowel motions always loose, and I do get tummy pain now and then  - but I thought this was normal.  My sleep is shocking. I wake up lots of times sometimes with nightmares. I hate mornings because when I wake up I do not feel refreshed - I still feel tired.”

My comment 
Isn’t this is a sad story. His blood test have shown up celiac disease. He is about to have an endoscopy to prove this. He is desperate to go gluten-free. He feels that most of his life has been spent struggling.  If only he had sought help earlier and got the appropriate test for celiac disease. This is such a common story.
The message: anyone who has any ongoing symptoms that have not been appropriately diagnosed should have blood tests for celiac disease and  gluten sensitivity.

Dr Rodney Ford


  1. Interesting. I've been reading into gluten and its effects on the body and I'm pretty sure that the body doesn't handle it very well--whether you have celiac or not. I'm going to get tested, but in the meantime I'm trying to avoid gluten-containing foods for a few months to see what happens. It ain't easy, especially being at university...

  2. I want to add that this man also describes symptoms of narcolepsy. Often untreated celiac disease leads to other autoimmune diseases (e.g., narcolepsy), so it wouldn't hurt to get a sleep study and MSLT. Like celiac, narcolepsy is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.

  3. blood tests are useless for gluten-sensitivty (for celiac they are quite reliable tho). the only finite answer to know, is going gluten (and dairy) free for 30 days. what do you tell your patient if the test comes back negative for GS? "no problem, just go on eating gluten"? certainly not! so, why spend the money for an only ~50% accurate test in the first place? or do you use cyrexlabs for all your GS testing?

  4. Would an endoscopy need to be done, if both the blood tests were positive? Aren't both the IgG-gliadin, and tissue tests enough to convince all parties that he needs to follow a GF diet?

    Glad to hear it seems you've found the problem, though. Best of luck!

  5. nice post, I couldn't ignore those insights.