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6 posts in this topic

I had a positive ANA of 1:320 speckled 3 months ago.  I also was diagnosed with celiac and have thyroid disease.  I started with what I thought was joint pain but it turned out being finger tendonitis.  I have two lumps; one under each index finger and my index fingers are swollen.  I injured my right hand in Feb. and now my middle finger is stiff.  My general practitioner won't refer me to a Rheumatologist yet because she said that my body wide tendonitis (plantar fasciitis in both feet and knee tendonitis due to my flattened feet) is likely due to the gluten.  I do not have GERD or any hand swelling other than the affected fingers, although I swear my ring finger is a tad swollen at the bottom although the ortho said that was due to the overall inflammation in my palm.  There is also a pocket of swelling on top of my hand under the index finger and it's not my entire hand.


I really would appreciate some input on this.  My palms hurt when I type or "use" my fingers and my fingers do as well.  I do not have carpal tunnel (they did a test) and my wrists are not stiff at all.  Here is my concern, I do not want to sit here and do nothing when I should see a rheumatologist but on the same hand, I know my doctor thinks I'm uptight and should wait on the Rheumatologist.


If anyone could give me any answers or thoughts, I'd really appreciate it.

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Hi TigerLilly,

Welcome to Sclero Forums!  I'm sorry you have celiac disease and thyroid disease. I may be wrong (I often am!) and I have no medical training at all.  It is my impression that both celiac disease and thyroid disease can cause tendonitis, and thyroid disease can also cause muscle and joint pain.


The issue of positive ANA is complicated, because the tests are false-positive about as often as they are accurate at a 1:320 dilution. See Tired, Aching, ANA-positive, Does your patient have lupus or fibromyalgia? (PDF) by Cleveland Clinic, where it says, "Even ANAs that were positive at a titer of 1:320 or greater were more likely to be falsely positive (55%) than indicative of any rheumatic disease (45%)."


Since the odds are about 50/50 that the test was not accurate, your doctor is probably waiting to see whether or not any other symptoms develop. Ideally your symptoms should begin to ease on a very strict gluten-free diet, because gluten causes widespread inflammation in people who have celiac disease, and with proper treatment of your thyroid disease. Untreated celiac disease can cause all sorts of complications, including lymphoma (a cancer that begins in the immune system).


And gluten is hiding out in thousands of foods under a very wide variety of disguises, so odds are outstanding that you still haven't learned what all the sources of gluten are in your diet, and entirely eliminated it yet. If I were you, I'd join a celiac support group, or two, and focus on developing a healthy diet and food preparation procedures that eliminates every drop of gluten contamination. That will be a lifelong benefit to you, and perhaps even prevent other inflammatory illnesses from taking root.


Then, see how you feel in a few months and discuss things with your primary care doctor, once you are no longer suffering under the influence of gluten and your thyroid hormones are better balanced. And of course, if you develop any new or troubling symptoms, see your doctor about them!  That way, any illness or symptoms won't go "untreated" in the meantime.


And even in the very unlikely event that you are developing scleroderma, with scleroderma, the usual course of attack is to just treat the symptoms (if necessary), pretty much the same as for anyone else, and it generally takes an average of six years for a scleroderma diagnosis (for women; for men it is about three years) so unfortunately, its really not like you would likely be missing out on an instant diagnosis or treatment, either.


You could start tackling this now by creating and posting some gluten-free recipes in our Sclero Kitchen subforum.


Warm Hugs,


Shelley Ensz

Founder and President

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099


The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

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Hi TigerLily,


Welcome to these forums!


I'm sorry to hear that you've been diagnosed with celiac disease and thyroid disease. However, to reiterate what Shelley has advised, a positive blood test on it's own is not conclusive and a diagnosis of Scleroderma should be made on many other factors including the clinical signs, as it is quite possible to have a positive blood test and yet never develop the full blown disease and vice versa.


Unfortunately with autoimmune problems, wait-and-see seems to be the order of the day a lot of the time and I do understand how frustrating this must be for you. If it's a small comfort, we do have many of our members who've been in the same boat.


Please do continue to post and let us know how you're faring.


Kind regards,



Jo Frowde

ISN Assistant Webmaster

SD World Webmaster

ISN Sclero Forums Manager

ISN News Manager

ISN Hotline Support Specialist

ISN Chat Host

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Thank you for your posts.  Yes from my limited understanding celiac could be causing all my issues along with the double whammy of my thyroid disease.  My thyroid isn't controlled very well right now I can tell so I have many ducks to get in a row.  I'm sure both of you understand the feeling of just being overwhelmed and just trying to get a handle on everything.  I, just like probably every one else with an autoimmune disease, want to feel better.  I know that the ortho thinks my hand issues are from overuse and chronic inflammation but it's so easy with google to try and diagnose yourself.  I just always wonder if any of the health care professionals I see even care at all or at the end of the day I am just another box they checked to get to the next one.


I think I have been gluten free for 45 days but I've read it can take months or even over a year to have symptoms ease with celiac and I can tell my thyroid is flaring right now.  I'm just going to take this one day at a time.   


Thanks for replying :) I do appreciate the feedback. 

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Hello Tigerlily6200


Welcome to the forums! Shelley has given you some really good advice, get your celiac issues under control and your thyroid issues so you can then separate out other symptoms you may have.


When we see a host of medical people for this, that and the other we can feel slighted along the way.


Take care.

Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

ISN Video Presentations Manager

ISN Blogger

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

(Retired) ISN Email Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi TigerLily,


Welcome to the forums! You've come to the right place for accurate information, support from people who get it, and a wonderful family of Sclerodermians! You've already received a load of very helpful information from others, so I will just give you a great big hug. Hang in there!

Warm and gentle hugs,



ISN Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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