WHAT IS CELIAC DISEASE?
Celiac Disease (CD), also known as Celiac Sprue or gluten sensitive enteropathy (GSE) is a lifelong inherited autoimmune condition affecting children and adults. When people with CD eat foods that contain gluten, it creates a toxic immune-response that causes damage to the small intestine. This reaction results in the inability to properly absorb nutrients found in the foods we eat. Even ingesting small amounts of gluten containing foods can affect those with CD and cause major health problems. Damage can occur to the small bowel even when there are no symptoms present.
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten is the common name for the proteins in specific grains that are harmful to persons with celiac disease. These proteins are found in ALL forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn and faro) and related grains rye, barley and triticale. In order to prevent further damage to the body and help eliminate symptoms of those affected by Celiac Disease all gluten containing foods MUST be eliminated. Celiac Disease is NOT a food allergy - it is an auto immune disease that someone can never grow out of.
ASSOCIATED AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS
Insulin-dependent Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Liver diseases, Thyroid Disease-Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Lupus (SLE), Addison’s Disease, Chronic Active Hepatitis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Turner Syndrome, Sjögren’s Syndrome, Raynaud’s Syndrome, Alopecia Areata and Scleroderma
SYMPTOMS OF CELIAC DISEASE
- Abdominal cramping, intestinal gas
- Distention and bloating of the stomach
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
- Steatorrhea – fatty stools
- Anemia – unexplained, due to folic acid, B12 or iron deficiency (or all)
- Unexplained weight loss with large appetite or weight gain
- In small children, growth failure, behavioral changes
- Dental enamel defects
- Osteopenia, osteoporosis
- Bone or joint pain
- Fatigue, weakness and lack of energy
- Infertility – male/female
- Mouth ulcers
- Delayed puberty
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
- Migraine headaches
DIABETES AND CELIAC DISEASE
As reported by Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation approximately 1 in 10 people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) develop celiac disease – compared to the general population thought to be around 1 in 100 to 200 individuals. Some people are born with a genetic susceptibility to celiac disease, and it is evident that people with other autoimmune diseases such as T1D may have a higher tendency toward developing celiac disease.
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