The Struggle of Living With Celiac Disease

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LAREDO, TEXAS (KGNS) - It's a condition that is often misdiagnosed by doctors but more and more people are finding out they have it.

This month is Celiac Disease Awareness Month and our own Ann Hutyra shares her story about her own diagnosis.

Finding out I had Celiac Disease was a difficult time in my life but now that I've learned to live with it, I think it's important to raise awareness about the disease.

I recently had a chance to visit with the local doctor who helped me get my diagnosis.

"Gluten sensitivity is much more common than we ever thought, at least that I ever thought, and I've come to respect it, that it is as common in our community as it is across the world", said

Dermatologist Doctor Robert Hudson sees a variety of skin conditions in his daily practice.

A lot of times, a person's symptoms have to do with the foods they're eating.

"Anybody that says gee doc, I feel bloated all the time after eating, you need to start questioning, ok let's start isolating foods"

Doctor Hudson's office is a familiar place for me, for almost a year he treated me for a skin condition that wouldn't respond to any medication and wouldn't go away.

I dealt with extreme itching and blistering of my skin, until Doctor Hudson recognized the condition as dermatitis herpetiformis or DH, the skin manifestation of Celiac Disease.

"Classic DH is wonderful when all the pieces of the puzzle fall together, and the typical DH clinical presentation is itching on the back of the head, and over extensor surfaces, elbows and knees, and you may never see a blister"

The diagnosis was a tough one.
More than three years later, I had the chance to thank Doctor Hudson

"I wanted the opportunity to say thank you for helping me, because if you remember, it was almost a year that I was here every two to three weeks trying to figure out what it was that I was dealing with in talking about my skin and you stuck with me as a patient, you didn't shuttle me off to the next doctor like a lot of doctors do, and I really wanted to say thank you. Hudson: I feel bad that we didn't diagnose you sooner but your initial presentation as I recall was not typical, it was not, then one day you came in and the light bulb switched, and you have D.H."

A Celiac diagnosis meant I had to go 100 percent gluten free for life.
Something Doctor Hudson recommends to all of his patients, dealing with gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease.

"Do it as a test and see how you feel and if you feel good, ok, if you really miss that gluten add it back, if you feel bad you have to decide, is it worth feeling bad"

My point in doing this story was to not only share my journey with you, but to encourage you to go for testing if you think you may have some of the symptoms of Celiac Disease.

There are more than 300 symptoms and they can vary from person to person.

If you want to know more about the symptoms or to continue follow Ann Hutyra on her journey, we've created a special place on our website.

Go to KGNS.TV and click on KGNS Cares, there you'll find Ann's Simply Celiac with links to different resources.