Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a condition in which gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and sometimes oats) attacks the inside lining of the small intestine, preventing it from absorbing vital nutrients. The symptoms of Celiac vary greatly from person to person and could include abdominal pain and/or cramping, bloating, intestinal gas, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss or weight gain, nausea and vomiting, lactose intolerance, or unusual changes in appetite. Because of the nature of these symptoms, Celiac is often misdiagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), as it was in my case. Celiac can also have an effect on other parts of the body and cause seemingly unrelated symptoms, such as fatigue/weakness, depression, osteoporosis, bone/joint pain, mouth ulcers, migraine headaches, tingling or numbness in hands or feet, infertility, and even more severe conditions such as arthritis, intestinal cancer, thyroid disease (I have hypothyroidism), or diabetes. Celiac affects 1 out of every 133 people.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Celiac disease; there is, however, a proven treatment: the symptoms will disappear and the lining of the intestine will heal if a lifelong gluten-free diet is adhered to. This means no longer consuming foods that contain gluten.

For more information about Celiac disease, please visit the following links. If you think you have Celiac disease or a sensitivity to gluten, talk to your doctor before starting a gluten-free diet.

Celiac Disease Foundation

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

National Institutes of Health Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign

American Celiac Disease Alliance

Celiac Sprue Association

Mayo Clinic

U.S. National Library of Medicine


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