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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Celiac Disease...what exactly is it?

One of my readers had asked that I post more information about Celiac disease in a way that most would be able to understand exactly what it is and its effects on one who has it, so here goes.

It is now estimated that 1 in 133 people have Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is found to be a inherited disorder, so if someone in your family has it, you should consider that you more than likely have it also. If your partner has it, you should watch your children  and possibly have them tested if they show any of the signs of the disorder.

 If you are diagnosed with Celiac Disease, or think you possibly have it, there are many signs and symptoms. The most common symptoms are anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps,  bloating, and irritability, although there are many more. Although some or all of these symptoms occur in celiac disease, some can also occur in many other diseases more common than celiac disease.  Symptoms may appear together or singularly in children or adults. In general, the symptoms of untreated celiac disease indicate the presence of malabsorption due to the damaged small intestine.

In other cases, sufferers from gluten-intolerance develop an intense burning and itching rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. The intestinal symptoms of celiac disease may or may not appear in dermatitis herpetiformis. Other possible symptoms might include: GERD, lactose intolerance, bi-polar disorder, depressive disorder, Chron's disease, ADD/ADHD, osteporosis, and arthritis.

Celiac disease is a medical condition in which the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten. This results in an inability of the body to absorb nutrients: protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, which are necessary for good health. The small intestine  begins at the stomach and ends at the large intestine, or colon.  Food empties from the stomach into the small intestine where it is digested and absorbed into the body. While food is being digested and absorbed, it is transported by the small intestine, through the large intestine, to the colon. What enters the colon is primarily undigested food. In celiac disease, there is an immunological (allergic) reaction within the inner lining of the small intestine to proteins (gluten) that are present in wheat, rye, barley and, to a lesser extent, in uncertified gluten free oats. The immunological reaction causes inflammation that destroys the lining of the small intestine. This reduces the absorption of the dietary nutrients and can lead to symptoms and signs of nutritional, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale, barley. In the case of wheat, gliadin has been isolated as the toxic fraction. It is the gluten in the flour that helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling. This feature has made gluten widely used in the production of many processed and packaged foods, but causes a adverse reaction in those who are gluten intolerant..

At present there is no cure, but celiac disease is readily treated by following a gluten-free diet.
Recent studies have shown that pure uncontaminated oats may now be used in the gluten-free diet with care.

The person with celiac disease MUST READ THE LIST OF INGREDIENTS ON ALL LABELS, EVERY TIME, unless a item is CERTIFIED as gluten free, because some companies may produce other products that contain gluten in their facilities and have cross contamination issues.

There is a great variation in sensitivity to gluten among those with celiac disease, and although one may have no obvious symptoms, damage to the intestinal lining may still occur.  

Although I have not been tested personally for Celiac Disease I was told years back by a Allergist after much testing that one of the things I was allergic to was WHEAT. I was getting what he called "Hives & Swellings" at that time, hence the allergy tests.

When you are a young mother and raising children, you tend to pay more attention to their needs than your own. I didn't think I was having any serious problems to eating the wheat that was in everyday products, until I decided to begin my wheat free journey many years later.

After going wheat/gluten free I have personally found that I no longer have as many dominate issues with allergies, bloating, or irritability. I also sleep much better at night. I have even lost a few pounds and am keeping it off. If you think you might have celiac disease seek your physicians help.

Although Celiac Disease affects each person differently symptom wise, it will always cause damage to your small intestines and should not go untreated as it can cause more serious issues to your health.

I hope this information helps many of you to understand this disease better.

Have a great wheat free day!


* Consult your physician for additional information, testing, and treatment, if you feel you have Celiac Disease. Information posted on this site is from personal experiences only.


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