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The Truth About Celiac Disease

Posted Jan 22 2010 7:22pm


People that have been diagnosed with this condition probably already know all things about it. But for those around them that do not understand, celiac disease is a condition that affects the digestive system. More specifically, it is a condition that is set off by eating foods with protein gluten. The truth about celiac disease is that no treatment exists and those who claim otherwise should be taken with caution and skepticism. The disease is also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy.

The disease can affect a person at any age. Children and adults alike have the chance to develop the disease. It is an autoimmune disorder which targets the digestive system. Like mentioned earlier, it is triggered by eating foods that are rich with gluten like cereal grains, bread, pasta, pizza crust, and even cookies. Any food that is made from wheat barley or rye most likely contains a good amount of gluten. When food with gluten is ingested, a reaction occurs in the small intestine which causes damage to its inner lining.

The small intestine also becomes incapable of absorbing nutrients. This, of course, will become problematic in the long run since the necessary nutrients are not absorbed which can result to other illnesses. The threat of nutrition deficiency is higher in children who have contracted the disease.

The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown, but it’s often inherited. If someone in your immediate family has it, chances are 5 percent to 15 percent that you may as well. It can occur at any age, although problems don’t appear until gluten is introduced into the diet.

The exact reason why the lining is being damaged is still unknown. Previously, it was thought that the disease only affects Europeans. But recent studies show that celiac disease affects different people regardless of ethnic background. In the US it has been found out that one in every 133 have it. According to research, the disease is genetic in origin.

The disease can be mistaken as other allergic reactions for the signs and symptoms are not that apparent. It is a common thing that people with the disease find themselves experiencing intermittent diarrhea, bloating, gastric ulcers, mouth sores, skin rash, anemia, upset stomach, joint pain and some abdominal pain. However, there are times that people don’t experience any kinds of digestive problems at all. Nevertheless, people with celiac disease will result to weight loss, diarrhea, stomach pains, foul smelling stools, and osteoporosis.

The disease may arise from different reasons. Sometimes, trauma, an infection, a physical injury, or the stress from pregnancy can cause the disease. There are some documented cases where severe stress or even surgery can trigger the disease.

Treatment for celiac disease has yet to be discovered. Nonetheless, there are ways to combat the disease. And the first line of defense is a gluten free diet. Avoiding foods with gluten will help prevent any inflammation of the small intestines. You can start taking nutritional supplements to help your malnutrition caused by the disease.

A gluten free diet includes eating the right amounts of fresh meat, fish and poultry, dairy products, fruits and of course vegetables. Your dietary options are not as limited as you might have early thought it would be. Rica and potatoes are also a good replacement for wheat products. Learning the truth about celiac disease should not be approached as something scare but rather should be treated as an opportunity to get to know the disease and the right way of approaching it.

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