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Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease in which the small intestine is damaged following the consumption of gluten. Gluten is a substance found in grains such as wheat, barley, spelt, and rye.


Common Signs/Symptoms of Celiac Disease:

-Bloating

-Diarrhea

-Delayed puberty

-Fatigue

-Slowed growth

-Reproductive issues

-Mental health problems

-Headaches


Celiac disease can only be diagnosed through an upper endoscopy which checks for damage in the small intestine. However, one should note that if gluten has been removed from the diet prior to the endoscopy, then a false negative may occur. A simple blood test can also check for celiac disease however is not an official way to diagnose. Those that have higher amounts of certain antibodies in their body typically end up being diagnosed with celiac disease. One must be on a gluten containing diet for antibody testing to be accurate.


Currently the only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. One with Celiac disease also needs to cautious of cross contamination as even a crumb can trigger an immune response, causing damage to the small intestine. If one with celiac continues to eat gluten or frequently gets exposed to cross contamination, they are more likely to experience damage to other tissues in their body. Some with celiac disease are asymptomatic to cross contamination; however, they should still avoid it. The severity of the symptoms does not always equal the severity of the disease. One may be asymptomatic to cross contamination but experience severe small intestinal damage. One may also have severe symptoms but have minimal damage to the small intestine. With that being said, one may have severe symptoms and severe small intestinal damage. This varies based on the individual.


Naturally Gluten-Free Foods:

-Fruits

-Vegetables

-Meat *caution as lunch meat, hot dogs, and bacon may contain gluten- make sure to read those labels! *

-Beans

-Seeds

-Nuts

-Eggs


Common Gluten-Containing Foods:

-Cereals

-Crackers

-Cakes

-Pastas

-Breads


* Some ChapSticks and beauty products may contain gluten-read labels! *


A gluten-free diet can seem daunting at first, but don't be discouraged. Gluten-free foods are becoming more widely available, and restaurants are becoming more aware to celiac disease. When buying groceries, make sure to read every label and look for the certified gluten-free label.

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