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The Truth about Celiac Sprue

If you believe that you may be suffering from celiac sprue (also referred to as celiac or coeliac disease) then read on. In this article we’ll explain what celiac sprue is, what the common symptoms are and the best known way of treating this potentially life threatening disease.

What is Celiac Sprue Disease?
Essentially, celiac sprue is a disease of the small intestines. In people with celiac disease, when a form of protein called gluten enters the small intestines, an immunological reaction occurs. This reaction causes inflammation of the small intestines which in turn destroys the lining. The lining is responsible for the absorption of nutrients. With a damaged or destroyed lining a variety of nutritional malabsorption symptoms can arise. This disease can be very serious. In advanced cases it is possible to die due to lack of nutrition. If you think that you or someone in your family may have celiac sprue disease, please consult your physician as soon as possible. They will be able to perform a few blood tests and possibly a simple intestinal biopsy to accurately diagnose your condition.

Celiac Sprue Symptoms
Since celiac sprue impacts intestinal function, many of the symptoms can be related to digestive or nutritional issues. While not everyone has all of these celiac disease symptoms, and some individuals don’t even manifest any symptoms, these are the most common symptoms.

  • Weight loss or emaciation
  • Abdominal pain, particularly a few hours after consuming gluten
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Nutritional absorption issues like Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Absent mindedness
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Failure to thrive or stunted growth in children

Celiac Sprue Diet
The best way to treat celiac sprue disease is to carefully follow a strict gluten free diet. Gluten is a protein found in some cereal grains such as wheat, barley and rye. Most people with celiac sprue disease also avoid oats because most oats are processed along side gluten containing grains and become contaminated. At first, the idea of a diet that does not contain wheat sounds daunting. However, there is an ever expanding variety of gluten free foods on the market in addition to all the naturally occurring gluten free food. The key is to try new things – whether it’s cooking quinoa for the first time or making bread with brown rice flour, being open minded can make all the difference.

Celiac sprue is a serious condition, but fortunately it is treatable. Most doctors recommend that patients immediately begin a gluten free diet. Since there are so many processed foods on the market that contain gluten, it is wise to begin by cooking your own meals and then slowly branch out into eating processed foods as you learn about foods containing gluten. Once you adjust to gluten free cooking you’ll find that living a gluten free life is not so difficult after all – and it’s well worth the health benefits.