My father is 77 and has lived alone for at least 30 years. He eats what he wants, drinks what he wants and basically lives life how he wants - even though it’s not in his best interest. 4 years ago he went into the hospital because out of the blue, he noticed a very unstable gait. He had emergency surgery (cervical stenosis). Since then, even with PT, his walking has been a slow process but in the past 2 months it’s gotten much much worse. 10 days ago i took him to the ER because I thought maybe he had an infection. He could barely walk at all (falling frequently). After 5 days in the hospital, a collection of personal information and many tests all coming up fine, the doctors felt that my fathers daily beer drinking through years of abuse has caused degenerative damage to his nerves and some dementia. He’s been in a rehab getting PT and OT for 5 days and it seems his symptoms are getting worse rather than better.
He hasn’t had alcohol for 10 days now, so I assumed there would be some withdrawal but it seems his symptoms are different now (in fact now there are new symptoms!) His speech is slurred and he’s very confused (more than usual). Through my own research I’ve come across something called gluten ataxia. This particular condition wouldn’t normally have raised a red flag for me (even though the symptoms are the same as what he’s been experiencing) BUT the irony is that I have 3 children - all who have been diagnosed with celiac (an autoimmune condition when the body cannot digest wheat). Gluten ataxia is a form of celiac disease and celiac disease is hereditary. My father has never been tested. I asked the hospital to test him for celiac (it’s only a blood test) but they said they could t do it. I also asked the rehab to test my dad for celiac but they’re not sure if they can because he has already been diagnosed with an alcohol abusive condition. (Drinking beer for anyone is bad I know, but for someone who has celiac or gluten ataxia, beer as well as any food with gluten is horrible! Beer, mind you is also loaded with gluten!) Has anyone ever heard of gluten ataxia and if so, what were the symptoms and how were they finally diagnosed? I know the alcohol is an issue (and dad says he’s going to stop) but to this day - even in the rehab - he’s still being fed gluten (which I’m wondering and suspecting could be a huge part of his condition.) Pls provide any info if you have any!!! ❤️