Ataxia is known as an unsteady gait or being off balance. Have you ever experienced that? Is it frequent or just every once in a while? It can be life altering in allowing you to perform your activities of daily living. I came across a fascinating article by Dr. Vicki Petersen and she discusses more in-depth the link between gluten and ataxia. Unfortunately, if a patient goes in to see their physician for such a symptom, it is almost unheard of that a physician would refer the patient to a gastroenterologist (stomach doctor). Their first referral would be to a neurologist (brain doctor). That has the potential to delay the diagnosis of celiac disease and continue to cause additional damage to the gut. Also, it doesn't include the additional medications that a patient may be put on to help "relieve" the symptoms. There are some astounding numbers that link celiac disease and ataxia together. Below Dr. Petersen discusses these numbers and their significance relating to celiac disease.
Dr. Petersen states, "I suppose they haven’t heard of the research that looked at 500 patients with progressive ataxia evaluated over a period of 13 years in the United Kingdom. Astonishingly, researchers found the following:
Dr. Petersen goes on to say, "In fact, less than 10% of those suffering from gluten-induced ataxia had any digestive problems at all. Over 90% of the patients whose ataxia was verified to be caused by gluten had absolutely no digestive complaints."
The medical definition of prevalence is the proportion of a particular population found to be affected by a medical condition. In the study referred to above, it is stating that out of the entire number of patients that suffered from ataxia, the percentages reflect the patients who had ataxia symptoms due to gluten. To break it down even more, out of all the ataxia patients, one in five patients had their symptoms caused by gluten. Patients with sporadic ataxia were one in four and patients with idiopathic sporadic ataxia is almost one out of every two. Those are high percentages relating to gluten-caused ataxia. We have to continue to bring awareness to physicians. I sympathize for the individuals that still suffer today because their physician refuses to believe that their symptoms have anything to do with gluten and our gut health. There are more and more studies being done regarding just how vital our gut health is to our overall health. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you know just how difficult it can be to get a diagnosis. For the individuals reading this article and are still searching for answers, don't give up. Today it is becoming more and more important to be an advocate for yourself and to find that physician that will listen to you.
Click the link below to read the full article:
Gluten Causes Ataxia by Dr. Vicki Petersen
Hello, my name is Rachel. I am a wife, mother of four beautiful children, and a registered nurse. I have a passion for educating people on nutrition. I strive to "Put life back into your lifestyle," by connecting you to the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding gluten-free living and other topics on nutrition. Check out my blog, website, and feel free to drop me a line!