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After I started learning more about my daughter’s Celiac’s Disease diagnosis and what it was, I also learned that it is an Autoimmune Disorder. Ok, good info, but What is an Autoimmune Disorder?
Seriously, can we just have all this medical info put into plain language? For those of us without medical degrees, it would be nice! I mean, my daughter is diagnosed with a disease but it is really a disorder (and a disease depending on the author) and when I order her food I have to say it’s an allergy, What The Hell????? I digress….
Knowing the difference between a disease and a disorder may help clarify things.
What is the difference between a Disease and a Disorder?
A disease is a response to internal or external factors (like gluten). A disorder is an interruption of normal body structure and function (like when your immune system goes wonky). Throughout my reading, I have seen Autoimmune Disorder and Autoimmune Disease used interchangeably.
What is an Autoimmune Disorder?
Healthline defines an Autoimmune Disorder as “a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body”. Your immune system is there to protect us from getting sick and when we do get sick, to help fight off those nasty little germs that got us sick.
However, in someone with an Autoimmune Disorder, their immune system starts attacking their joints, skin, or healthy cells because their immune system thinks they are foreign (germs).
In the case of a Celiac, this is how their small intestine gets damaged. Their immune system starts degrading the villi so they can not absorb an appropriate amount of nutrients and causes inflammation in their intestines.
Now, once you have one Autoimmune Disorder you are more susceptible to getting others. Wonderful, right??? For Celiac’s though, the earlier that it is caught, the less likely they will get another Autoimmune Disorder. But if they decide they want to “cheat” and have the gluten-laden doughnut every day because it is so freaking yummy, then they are putting themselves at a higher risk.
Here’s the thing, it SUCKS! I know that. As a parent of a Celiac that it takes time to plan meals, plan more if you are traveling (yay for Google!), costs a ton more and requires a lot more time cooking. I. GET. IT! However, once you accept that and stick to a GF diet, then your gut heals and you are helping to fight the chance of getting another Autoimmune Disorder.