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Treating Celiac Disease: An Autoimmune Disease With Many Faces - Part 2

By Expert HERWriter
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Welcome to the second of a two part post created to inform you about Celiac disease. In the first post, I talked about celiac disease, the symptoms and how it is associated with other autoimmune diseases. In this post I will talk about the ways it is diagnosed, and successful naturopathic treatments to heal the body and alleviate the symptoms. So let’s get started.

One of the major challenges with celiac disease is getting the correct diagnosis. Since the symptoms can involve so many parts of the body it goes misdiagnosed so often. As a result of the misdiagnosis, many people can live with symptoms for years before it is identified.

A good first step is to have blood test run to check for antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are produced by the immune system to protect the body against things that cause damage to the body. I generally start with anti-alpha-gliadin antibodies (AGA). I have a colleague that may run anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA), or anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA).

These antibodies are higher in patients that have celiac disease and with high levels, it is appropriate to start treatment for celiac. The definitive test, however, is to perform an endoscopic procedure to get intestinal tissue to see if the villi has been damaged by the disease process.

The treatment for celiac disease is very straightforward. All food containing gluten and gliadin must be eliminated from the diet. Once these foods are removed, the intestine walls can begin to heal and as long as these foods are not reintroduced, the body will continue to heal and symptoms will be alleviated.

What are the foods that generally contain gluten and gliadin? All wheat, rye and barley products have gluten and gliadin. Some experts recommend the elimination of oats, as well. For my patients, wheat seems to be one of the most difficult products to eliminate because that means all breads, pasta, pizza, and the like from all mainstream establishments.

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My sister-in-law suffers from Celiac Disease and had a terrible time dealing with it. She gained an extraordinary amount of weight early on while her body was traumatized and became depressed about her condition. Now that she has learned to adjust her eating regimen and become more physically active, she says she is doing better and has shed a little of the weight.

One of my son's school mates has Celiac and his mom was constantly on the search for proper foods that he could eat. 20 or so years ago, we didn't have the abundance of gluten-free products available, and only a couple of health food stores where one could find spelt flour, millet, and other suitable grains to use for baked goods.

It's a tough situation, but, as your article suggests, it's manageable.

August 10, 2009 - 7:58pm
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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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