Interview with John Wells, MD on Celiac Disease
Dr. Wells thank you for taking the time to meet with me today.
You’re very welcome it’s my pleasure.
I wanted to ask you some questions about Celiac Disease. Are you finding that more people are asking to get tested for Celiac Disease now?
Absolutely, as the public becomes more informed about gluten, more people are suspecting that they have it. I have more and more patients requesting the tests. I start with the antibody tests and if they come up positive then I recommend a biopsy of the small intestine.
Yes, and Celiac can only be 100% confirmed with the biopsy. Celiac disease affects less than one percent of the population. Are you finding that celiac disease is on the rise?
I want to mention that I diagnosed my first celiac patient over thirty years ago and in that time a lot has changed. I think what is happening now is that more people are asking to be tested. So yes, more celiac is being diagnosed than before but it is not necessarily on the rise. I do think more people today are having sensitivities to gluten but are testing negative for Celiac Disease.
Right and that would be an area where Naturopathic Medicine can help by identifying food sensitivities and supporting digestive function. I’ve also found that patients suffering with Irritable bowel syndrome can find relief with natural medicine regardless if they have Celiac Disease.
Oh that’s good to know because IBS patients can suffer quite a lot. I think it’s also important to mention that patients suspecting that they have Celiac should get tested first before they pursue a gluten-free diet. Testing will not be accurate if gluten is eliminated from ones diet prior to testing.
Absolutely, because some people avoid gluten but are not diagnosed as Celiac. In order to really know, gluten would have to be re-introduced into their diet again for 2-3 months in order to get accurate test results.
I wanted to let you know that the Celiac Disease Foundation has two support groups here in the Valley. There is one meeting each month in Phoenix and one in Gilbert. Please pass the information along to your newly diagnosed patients, to use as a wonderful resource.
Phoenix: First Wednesday of each month. 7-9pm
Paradise Valley Retirement Center 11645 N. 25th Place Phoenix, AZ 85028
East Valley: Third Wednesday of each month. 6:30-8pm
American Leadership Academy 3155 S San Tan Village Pkwy Gilbert, AZ 85295
Dr. Wells: Thank you so much, I’ll be sure to do that.
Dr. Purcell: Thank you Dr. Wells for taking your time today in between patients to answer questions on Celiac disease.
Dr. Wells: It was my pleasure.