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What is Celiac Disease?

Unless you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or know someone who has, it’s very possible that you’ve never heard of it. Most of us are familiar with the term gluten intolerant, but what does it really mean? In this article we’ll define gluten intolerance and celiac disease, take a look at some of the most frequently reported symptoms of celiac disease, and cover some of the basic treatment recommendations. By the end of this article you’ll have a better understand of celiac disease along with a few tips on how to combat it.

What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease, also sometimes referred to as coeliac disease, is a disease of the intestines. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten their body has an autoimmune reaction where the intestines become irritated and swell. This swelling can damage the intestines leading to an inability to absorb nutrients. In severe cases celiac disease can be life threatening.

Celiac Disease Symptoms
Before we share with you the list of common symptoms, it’s important to note that not all those suffering from celiac disease exhibit all, some or even any of these symptoms. One of the most difficult parts of diagnosing celiac disease is the variance in symptoms. Some people suffer from almost all the symptoms – others have no symptoms at all for many many years.

  • Fatigue
  • Foggy thinking
  • Abdominal pain or cramping, particularly after consuming wheat or gluten containing products
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Anemia
  • Other vitamin or mineral deficiencies
  • Elevated liver counts on blood tests
  • Weight loss
  • Osteoporosis
  • Itchy rash that comes and goes

If you have several of the above listed symptoms, or if you suspect that you may have celiac disease, see your physician right away. There are simple tests that can be done to diagnose this disease and treatment is possible. Don’t spend another day in discomfort.

Celiac Disease in Children
In children, the disease can be difficult to identify at first. Most infants with celiac disease are given a ‘failure to thrive’ classification. In toddlers and older children a symptom can be stunted growth along with some of the other symptoms found in adults such as fatigue, rash and abdominal pain.

Treatment
Fortunately, there is treatment. The only known way to treat celiac disease is with a gluten free diet. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and most oats. By removing the source of the gluten the intestines will no longer trigger an autoimmune reaction. Over time the intestines can heal and normal nutritional absorption can occur. It may sound daunting to remove all wheat from your diet, but there are many gluten free substitutes on the market today.

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.