Hoping to be of help to all those living gluten free in the United Arab Emirates – نأمل أن نكون عوناً لكل من يعيش حياته خالية من الجلوتين في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة
For many people, getting diagnosed is a long long road. It doesn’t have to be this way. If we – as a society can educate ourselves and equip ourselves with the knowledge we need for diagnosis, then we can go to any doctor and ask to be tested.Since starting Gluten Free – UAE I have met so many people, all with their own story. I get emails from people of all nationalities and ages. Many have been misdiagnosed and/or suffered with symptoms for years and years. Many have been told they have IBS, depression (its all in your head), bad tummy due to stress and a whole string of other things. It seems very common for people to suffer for 10-20 even 30 years before getting a correct diagnosis. Whenever someone tells me they have been diagnosed, the first thing I say is ‘Congratulations’. Diagnosis is the start of a new, better, healthier life.If you suspect you have an issue with gluten it is important that you keep eating gluten as usual until all your testing is done. If you cut out gluten and then do the tests, the tests will not show an accurate result.It is also important to remember that only a doctor can diagnose Celiac disease. You can not go to a herbalist or dietician to get your diagnosis. Celiac disease is a complex auto immune disease and only a gastro intestinal doctor together with your regular Doctor can give you your diagnosis. The same goes for gluten intolerance, because if you suspect you are gluten intolerant you would still need the same tests to rule out Celiac disease.
The first step is a simple blood test, you can ask any GP to do this test (the test looks for antibodies to gluten in the blood). The blood test alone however, can not give you a 100% diagnosis. If after your blood test result you and your doctor feel there is enough reason to investigate further, you will need to go for a biopsy. A small tube is inserted through your mouth (you will be asleep) and a small sample will be taken from your intestine.
Some people with negative blood test results are later found through biopsy to have Celiac disease. There are many reasons a blood test result can give a false negative. You may not have had enough gluten in the days leading up to the test, or maybe perhaps you are IgA deficient (wikipedia). A person who is IgA deficient will usually test negative on a blood test. If you do have symptoms that are linked to Celiac disease or perhaps a family member with Celiac disease, then its important to not dismiss further investigation after a negative blood test. A good doctor will guide you. You will need to be aware that not all doctors are familiar with Celiac disease or the tests involved. You need to search for a doctor who you feel comfortable with and who understands Celiac disease.
We have compiled a list of the doctors in the UAE most commonly mentioned on our face book page when the subject of doctors comes up. Just because your chosen doctor isn’t mentioned that doesn’t mean he/se isn’t good. Go with your gut feeling.
Most insurance companies seem to cover Celiac testing, but if yours doesn’t, then make sure you shop around. I have heard reports of people paying 700dhs and reports of people paying close to 2000dhs. Remember, this test can only be done in a doctors clinic by a doctor. There are other ‘allergy tests’ and ‘intolerance tests’ out there on the market, they do not and can not test for Celiac disease.
Please note that the above is information taken from my own experiences and information readily available in most media. Its important to consult with a doctor in any matter regarding your health.