Celiac Disease Facts
Facts of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease affects one in every one hundred people, which is one percent of the worldwide population. In addition, two and a half million Americans are undiagnosed, so they are at risk for long-term health complications.
My brother suffers from this disorder and most of the time when we talk on the phone he has to hang up to run to the bathroom. He is on a gluten free diet, but he has had much difficulty with celiac disease symptoms. I am not sure he is carefully following the diet, but he claims otherwise. In addition, one of our Hubpage writers has been recently diagnosed with this disease.
This is a serious autoimmune disease, which is inherited. The effect of this disease is damage to the small intestine as an immune reaction to the consumption of gluten products. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale.
Some skin conditions, such as eczema and psoriasis, also improve when gluten is removed from the diet. The rash on the skin appears on the elbows, torso, scalp, knees and buttocks.
Celiac Disease Symptoms
The symptoms and signs for adults and children are somewhat different. The symptoms for adults may include:
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloating and gas
Over one half of adults also have one of the following disorders including:
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Osteoporosis (bone density loss) or osteomalacia (softening bones)
- Mouth ulcers
- Dermatitis herpetiformis (Itcy, blistery skin rash)
- Nervous system conditions may include numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, balance problems and cognitive impairment
- Fatigue and headaches
- Joint pain
- Hyposplenism (reduced functioning of the spleen)
Villous Atrophy of the Small Intestine.
Celiac Disease Questions
Do you or any member of your family have any of these symptoms?
Celiac disease symptoms in children include digestive problems.
- Chronic diarrhea
- Nausea and vomiting
- Swollen belly
- Pale, foul smelling stools
Additional symptoms in children appear due to their inability to absorb nutrients and include:
- Failure to thrive
- Weight loss
- Iron deficiency anemia
- Damage to tooth enamel
- Short stature
- Delayed puberty
- Neurological symptoms that include attention-deficit disorder, hyperactive disorder (ADHD), headaches, lack of muscle coordination, learning disabilities and seizures
Celiac Disease in Children - Dr. Elaine Barfield
Possible Complications of Celiac Disease
If celiac disease is left untreated it can lead to the development of other autoimmune diseases.
- Type one diabetes
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Other complications include iron deficiency anemia, galbladder malfunctions, osteoporosis, infertility, miscarriage and lactose intolerence.
Neurological and other conditions that may occur include:
- Heart disease
- Intestinal cancers
Celiac Disease Risk Factors
Risk factors include the following:
- Family member with celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis
- Autoimmune thyroid disease
- Down syndrome or Turner syndrome
- Addison’s disease
- Microscopic colitis (lymphocytic or collagenous colitis)
Components of Gluten-Free Diet
There is only one way to treat celiac disease at this time and it is to refrain from consuming any gluten products. This is essential for managing symptoms.
This does not only mean food products as medications, lip balm, vitamins and supplements, hair and skin products and toothpastes can all contain gluten. It is important to always read the labels for the following terms in addition to wheat:
Also, avoid barley, rye, triticale and sometimes oats (naturally gluten-free, but they may be contaminated during production with wheat, barley or rye).
Naturally gluten-free food includes:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Non-processed meats
- Poultry and fish
- Beans, seeds and nuts in their natural, unprocessed forms
- Most low-fat milk products.
Rice, cornmeal, arrowroot, flax, gluten-free flour (made from rice, soy, potatoes, beans or corn), hominy, buckwheat, amaranth, soy, quinoa, sorghum, millet and tapioca are also considered safe.
Alcoholic beverages that are made from naturally gluten-free ingredients, such as grapes or juniper berries can be labeled gluten-free. An alcoholic beverage made from a gluten-containing grain should carry a label stating the beverage was "processed," "treated" or "crafted" to remove gluten. Other alcoholic beverages may not be safe.
Foods to avoid include beer and ale, bread, cake, pie, cereals, communion wafers, croutons, french fries, malt, matzo, pastas, hot dogs, processed lunch meats, salad dressings, sauces (especially soy sauce), seasoned rice mix, chips, soups, bouillon, soup mixes and vegetables with sauces.
Damaged Intestinal Lining
Home and Restaurant Food
Eating in restaurants may also be difficult. Suggestions include eating salads with no croutons while using oil and vinegar for a dressing. It may be smart to eat in a restaurant when they are less busy to better assess your needs.
If you live with people that do not have celiac disease then, store food separately. Wash dishes and cooking utensils very thoroughly. Keep counters clean.
Celiac Disease Symptom Checklist
Problems with a Gluten-free Diet
You will not be eating foods rich in iron, calcium, fiber, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. Some gluten-free foods have a higher sugar and fat content. Reading labels is essential. Your doctor may also provide you with a list of nutrient-rich alternatives.
Certainly, gluten-free foods tend to be more expensive, which is a problem for many patients.
If you have celiac disease and can follow a gluten-free diet you should enjoy improved health, improved gastrointestinal health and an improved athletic performance. Certainly, following a gluten free diet will alleviate the symptoms and you will feel better.
Medical studies are taking place worldwide to find solutions for this disease in addition to a gluten free diet. If you are interested in participating in a study, click on study. Beyond Celiac also has books for diet suggestions for the holidays.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Pamela Oglesby