Tag Archives: celiac disease

Celiac Disease Symptoms

With gluten intolerance becoming more prevalent in the United States, many people are learning that intolerance and allergic reactions are not the only possible impact of gluten. Celiac disease impacts 1-2% of the population and can be life threatening if not diagnosed and treated properly. In this article we’ll define celiac disease and discuss the symptoms of celiac disease as well as celiac disease diagnosis.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is when an individual has an adverse reaction to ingesting gluten whereby the gluten causes damage to the small intestines leading to nutrient malabsorption.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

While there is no set list of symptoms that can be used to definitively diagnose celiac disease, there are some general symptoms that many suffering from the disease report. These symptoms include:

Abdominal pain
Gas
Diarrhea or constipation
Problems with nutrient absorption, including
Weight loss
Anemia
Weakness
Fatigue
Easily broken bones

In some individuals, a very itchy rash may develop which may be diagnosed as dermatitis herpetiformis which is a skin disease related to celiac disease and gluten intolerance.

Celiac disease diagnosis

Generally celiac disease is diagnosed in a three-step process.

1.Do a small intestine biopsy. This takes only a few minutes. Children are usually sedated, while adults typically do not need to be. If the biopsy reveals that the villi in the intestines are damaged, the process moves to step
2.Try a treatment plan consisting of a strict gluten-free diet for at least six months and then perform another biopsy. If the villi are healed proceed to step 3.
3.Reintroduce gluten for six months or longer and then do another biopsy. If the villi are damaged again then the diagnosis is complete. The recommended treatment plan is a gluten free diet for life.

It is important to note that not all doctors use the three step process. Many believe that step 1 is the only one that is needed. There are also blood tests that can be done to help diagnose the disease. Before having the biopsy it is important to eat normally – removing or reducing gluten or eating differently than you usually do can impact the results of the test.

If you think that you may be gluten intolerant or that you may have celiac disease, be sure to consult your physician. Testing is relatively straightforward and if you test positive your doctor will be able to assist you with a treatment plan.

Celiac Disease – What You Should Know

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with celiac disease, or if you have often wondered if you’re gluten intolerant, read on. Celiac disease is a widespread condition that impacts over 2% of the population. With symptoms that can mimic other gastroenterology disorders, it can be difficult to diagnose. In this article we’ll define the disease, cover some of the more common symptoms and give an overview of diet recommendations. By the end of the article you’ll have a better understanding of celiac disease and how it can be treated with a few dietary choices.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an inability to tolerate wheat protein – also known as gluten. When people with celiac disease consume gluten, an autoimmune response is triggered which can cause damage to the small intestines. Over time, this damage can cause the small intestines to no longer be able to absorb nutrients found in any food. The complications of this disease are very serious including malnutrition. This condition is found in both adults and children. Approximately 1 in 133 people have celiac disease but unfortunately very few of these people have been formally diagnosed.

Celiac Disease Symptoms

Common symptoms of celiac disease include weight loss, diarrhea and various nutritional malabsorption issues. Symptoms vary depending on the length of time that absorption of nutrients has been disrupted – with stronger symptoms showing in people who have had nutrients blocked for a longer period of time. Some people with celiac disease report no symptoms at all. Other physical symptoms can include fatigue, weakness, dry skin, night blindness, muscle cramping, cramping and bloating among things. Emotional and psychological symptoms can include irritability, inability to concentrate, depression and moodiness.

Celiac Disease Diet Recommendations

On the positive side, there is a way to combat this serious condition. Treatment does not require surgery, medication or regular doctor visits. The only known treatment is the complete elimination of gluten from the diet, generally known as a gluten free diet. Gluten is found in many common foods such as bread, pasta, cookies and baked goods – but it is also found in processed foods like cereals, french fries and even soy sauce. Even foods that come in contact with gluten but do not directly contain it are discouraged. By avoiding all gluten and carefully self-managing what is eaten Celiac disease will remain under control.

The good news is that there are non-gluten variations of many of your favorite foods. You can find or cook gluten free bread, gluten free pizza, and even gluten free pancakes, so you won’t have to go without yummy food when you go gluten free.

Celiac disease is a serious condition that can be life threatening. Fortunately, once diagnosed, treatment is easy to understand – if harder to implement. A major change in lifestyle is usually required but once done can restore health and well being.

Celiac Q & A

In this article we’d like to present some common questions and provide answers that we hope will prove helpful.

Q: What is celiac disease?
A: Celiac disease is a condition where there is an adverse reaction to gluten. Gluten is a protein chain found in some grains. The reaction causes damage to the small intestine and leads to nutrient malabsorption.

Q: What are celiac disease symptoms?
A: Unfortunately there is no typical symptom list. Some people experience no symptoms. Celiac disease symptoms in adults can include diarrhea, weight loss, gas, and severe abdominal pain. Some individuals also develop dermatitis herpetiformis which is a related disease where an extremely itchy rash appears.

Q: Who is impacted by this disease?
A: This condition primarily impacts people over the age of 20. Celiac disease in children is rare, but does occur.

Q: What is the suggested treatment?
A: There is no medication available to treat this disease. The standard recommendation is to avoid all foods containing gluten, including foods that are typically gluten free but that may have come in contact with gluten during processing. Gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley and most oats are processed along with gluten-containing grains so are not safe for individuals with celiac disease.

Q: Are there support groups or other ways to get help?
A: Yes! There are several support groups in all parts of the country. To get more information on a local support group, call one of the following:

American Celiac Society 973-325-8837
Canadian Celiac Society 905-507-6208
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America 206-246-6652

Q: Where can I find gluten free food?
A: There are lots of gluten free retailers online. There are also a number of them that provide a catalog. More and more mainstream grocery stores are offering a selection of gluten free foods and most health food stores have a gluten free section.

Q: Can I drink alcohol?
A: Absolutely. Wine, tequila, sake, rum and vodka are generally safe. Grain alcohols are controversial. While distillation should remove all gluten, some individuals report problems with them. There are also many brewers that are introducing various types of gluten free beer that are definitely worth investigating.

We hope that the above Q&A has been helpful in learning more about celiac disease. Remember, if you or someone you love has been diagnosed with this disease – you’re definitely not alone. There are many resources available to help you learn about the disease, treatment and leading a gluten free lifestyle.