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Celiac Disease And The Need To Avoid Gluten

By HERWriter
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Celiac disease (CD) is triggered by eating types of protein fractions called gluten. Gluten is in wheat, barley, rye and possibly oats, though this is subject to debate.

Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

An autoimmune response damages the small intestine. Villi, or tiny finger-like protrusions lining the small intestine, are damaged or destroyed.

The villi's primary role is to aid in the absorption of nutrients. Once they don't work, no matter how much or how well the individual eats, malnutrition can result.

About 1 percent of the population may have celiac disease. CD is thought to be underdiagnosed.

People can have CD and not know it. They may show no symptoms.

They may have classic symptomatic celiac involving diarrhea, failure to thrive, malnutrition and weight loss. They may have non-traditional CD, which involves depression and osteoporosis.

The potential for celiac disease is inherited, though it doesn't necessarily appear in childhood. An asymptomatic past doesn't eliminate the possibility of CD emerging later.

Blood tests and intestinal biopsy are useful in detecting CD.

Celiac disease can be activated by a stressor like childbirth, pregnancy, surgery or viral infection. Some symptoms of celiac disease are abdominal bloating and pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, vomiting or weight loss.

In children, celiac disease can cause failure to thrive, delayed growth, delayed puberty and dental problems.

Adults with celiac disease may experience anxiety, arthritis, bone loss or osteoporosis, bone or joint pain, canker sores, depression and fatigue. They may have tingling or numbness in hands or feet, menstrual disorders, infertility or miscarriage, skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis, or seizures.

Autoimmune disorders like autoimmune liver disease, thyroid disease, Addison's disease and type-1 diabetes may indicate CD. Chronic celiac disease can cause liver disease and cancer of the intestine.

Add a Comment5 Comments

Although celiac disease is a gluten allergy, it is only one form of gluten allergy. Many react to gluten and may have elevated serum antigliadin antibodies, but they do not have damage to the small intestine. These people have a negative biopsy of the small intestine, as well as negative antiendomysial antibody and tissue transglutaminase tests.
celiac disease symptoms

August 22, 2010 - 11:47pm
HERWriter Guide

Dr. Osborne - Thanks for the information. It sounds like the organization is doing a lot to help people, and we wish you well. I would like to personally invite you, and your members, to consider joining our new Celiac Diet and Lifestyle Group, which can be found at http://www.empowher.com/groups/celiac-diet-and-lifestyle
While it was set up for those with Celiac Disease, you've helped me realize that it needs to be broader and there are additional reasons why people would choose a gluten-free diet. I hope you'll take a look as I think you could contribute a lot to the discussions.
EmpowHER Moderator

August 20, 2010 - 5:48pm
EmpowHER Guest

Clarification should be made between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Celiac disease is only one of many manifestations of gluten sensitivity. This video does an excellent job explaining the differences.

All the best,
Dr. Peter Osborne

August 17, 2010 - 5:16am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Dr. Osborne - Thanks for your comment, and for sharing the video. Can you tell us more about the Gluten Free Society? The website notes that it educates both patients and doctors, and seems to provide a lot of very helpful information. Do you recommend the organization to your patients? Is this a non-profit support group, or a business? We'd like to know more about the society.

August 18, 2010 - 6:38pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Pat Elliott)

Hi Pat,
Gluten Free Society is a privately owned membership organization. I work with them to help spread the word about the dangers of gluten in the diet. It is the only website to my knowledge that promotes healthy gluten free eating without all of the packaged processed substitute foods. The site offers daily articles, expert interviews, an interactive forum, and more. Currently, there is a paid membership section of the site with more than 10 hours of video tutorials on going gluten free. This section of the site costs a one time registration of $69 (use special code "osborne" for a substantial discount) and $12.99 per month thereafter. A portion of all proceeds are donated to research funding.
The group funds educational lectures to physicians on the topic.
Gluten Free Society also hosts free quarterly meetings in Houston, TX to the general public. More locations will be coming this year and early next year. Dates and locations to be announced.
Thanks for your interest. If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask.
All the best,
Dr. Osborne

August 20, 2010 - 4:15am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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