It’s also Celiac Awareness Month!!! Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Celiac disease is genetic, meaning it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered—or becomes active for the first time—after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress. Celiac disease is a digestive disease effecting the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People with the disease cannot tolerate gluten which is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten can also be found in many foods but also as a filler in many products that are not foods such as lip balms, medications, vitamins, supplements, etc. Celiac disease is once of malabsorption and an immune response to gluten, which makes it a very uncomfortable and difficult disease to have. The little villi (the finger-like protrusions in your small intenstine that absorb nutrients from the foodstuffs in your intestine)get destroyed by the immune response to the gluten. Without healthy villi, you will be malnourished because your body cannot absorb any of the nutrients from food.
Symptoms? For Infants and children the symptoms are usually more digestive, but can vary person to person:
Abdominal pain and bloating
pale, foul smelling, fatty stool
*for children, a poor nutrition at a young age can cause stunted growth, poor enamel on teeth, delayed puberty, and failure to thrive in infants
Symptoms for adults are usually more varied:
unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
bone or joint pain
bone loss or osteoporosis
tingling/numbness in hands or feet
missed menstrual periods
infertility or recurrent miscarriage
canker sores inside of mouth
itchy skin called dermititis herpetiformis
People with celiac disease may have no symptoms but can still develop complications of the disease over time. Long-term complications include malnutrition—which can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, and miscarriage, among other problems—liver diseases, and cancers of the intestine.
Celiac disease affects people in all parts of the world. Originally thought to be a rare childhood syndrome, celiac disease is now known to be a common genetic disorder. More than 2 million people in the United States have the disease, or about 1 in 133 people. Among people who have a first-degree relative—a parent, sibling, or child—diagnosed with celiac disease, as many as 1 in 22 people may have the disease. Celiac disease is also more common among people with other genetic disorders including Down syndrome and Turner syndrome, a condition that affects girls’ development.
Celiac disease is usually diagnosed through blood tests, biopsies of the small intestine (through endoscopy where a small tube is entered through the mouth into your stomach and a small sample is taken- don’t worry you will gets lots of happy drugs and not remember anything!!), through diagnosis of dermatitis herpetiformis, and through screening for autoantibodies (which is not routinely done in the US unless you have an affected family member).
Treatment? A gluten-free diet!!! It is much harder than you think…there seems to be gluten in everything these days. Here are some foods that are allowed and should be avoided:
Indian rice grass
|Foods To Avoid|
triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
|Other Wheat Products|
|Processed Foods that May Contain Wheat, Barley, or Rye*|
brown rice syrup
cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, sausage
|seasoned tortilla chips
vegetables in sauce
Also, this is good info to have when having friends over for dinner with celiac disease so that everyone can enjoy the meal 🙂 Its always nice to serve food that doesn’t make people sick or cause anxiety!!
American Celiac Disease Alliance
2504 Duxbury Place
Alexandria, VA 22308
American Dietetic Association
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606–6995
Celiac Disease Foundation
13251 Ventura Boulevard, #1
Studio City, CA 91604
Celiac Sprue Association/USA Inc.
P.O. Box 31700
Omaha, NE 68131–0700
Phone: 1–877–CSA–4CSA (272–4272)
Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation
P.O. Box 6
Flourtown, PA 19031
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
31214 124th Avenue SE
Auburn, WA 98092–3667
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
224 South Maple Street
Ambler, PA 19002–0544
North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
P.O. Box 6
Flourtown, PA 19031
The Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign
To meet the need for comprehensive and current information about celiac disease, the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), launched the Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign. The Awareness Campaign is the result of the combined ideas and efforts of the professional and voluntary organizations that focus on celiac disease, along with the NIDDK, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Visit www.celiac.nih.gov to learn more about the Awareness Campaign.