Health Care and Celiac Disease

Celiac
disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder, according to the Celiac
Disease Foundation, where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small
intestine.  It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.  Two
and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term
health complications.
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an
immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction damages your
small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients
(malabsorption). The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight
loss, bloating and anemia, and can lead to serious complications, according to
the Mayo Clinic.
In children, malabsorption can affect growth and
development, in addition to the symptoms seen in adults. There’s no cure for
celiac disease — but for most people, following a strict gluten-free diet can
help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing.
Because
people with celiac disease must avoid gluten — a protein found in foods
containing wheat, barley and rye — it can be challenging to get enough grains.
More information about this medical issue is located at this website: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/celiac-disease/home/ovc-20214625
.
Celiac
disease cannot be “caught,” but rather the potential for celiac
disease is in the body from birth. Its onset is not confined to a
particular age range or gender, although more women are diagnosed than men,
according to the Celiac Support Association. It is not known exactly what
activates the disease, however three things are required for a person to
develop celiac disease:
·        
A
genetic disposition:

being born with the necessary genes. The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genes
specifically linked to celiac disease are DR3, DQ2 and DQ8…and others.
·        
An
external trigger:
some
environmental, emotional or physical event in one’s life. While triggering
factors are not fully understood, possibilities include, but are not limited to
adding solids to a baby’s diet, going through puberty, enduring a surgery or
pregnancy, experiencing a stressful situation, catching a virus, increasing
WBRO products in the diet, or developing a bacterial infection to which the
immune system responds inappropriately.
·        
A
diet:
containing
gluten and related prolamins.
·        
Auto-antigen
enzyme
, tissue
transglutaminase (TG2) also TG4 and TG6.
·        
Production
of proinflammatory cytokines
,
especially interferon (IFN-γ).
·        
Infants
and young children who have celiac disease are more likely to have digestive
symptoms, such as abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea (even bloody diarrhea) and
constipation, and may fail to grow and gain weight. A child may also be
irritable, fretful, emotionally withdrawn, or excessively dependent. If the
child becomes malnourished, he or she may have a large tummy, thin thigh
muscles, and flat buttocks. Many children who have celiac disease are
overweight or obese.
·        
Teenagers
may have digestive symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation. They may hit
puberty late and be short. Celiac disease might cause some hair loss (a
condition called alopecia areata) or dental problems.
·        
Adults
are less likely to have digestive symptoms. Instead, they might have a general
feeling of poor health, including fatigue, bone or joint pain, irritability,
anxiety and depression, and missed menstrual periods in women. Some adults may
have digestive symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.
·        
Osteoporosis
(loss of calcium from the bones) and anemia are common in adults who have
celiac disease. A symptom of osteoporosis may be nighttime bone pain.
·        
Lactose
intolerance (a problem digesting milk products) is common in patients of all
ages who have celiac disease.
·        
Dermatitis
herpetiformis (an itchy, blistery skin problem) and canker sores in the mouth
are also common problems in people who have celiac disease.
Celiac
disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medicines
that contain gluten. Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to additional
serious health problems, as reported by the Celiac Disease Foundation, such as
these healthcare issues:
·        
Iron
deficiency anemia
·        
Early
onset osteoporosis or osteopenia
·        
Infertility
and miscarriage
·        
Lactose
intolerance
·        
Vitamin
and mineral deficiencies
·        
Central
and peripheral nervous system disorders, including ataxia, epileptic
seizures, dementia, migraine, neuropathy, myopathy and multifocal
leucoencephalopathy
·        
Pancreatic
insufficiency
·        
Gall
bladder malfunction
According
to this advocacy website, https://www.beyondceliac.org/celiac-disease/
, t
here are more than 300 symptoms of celiac disease, and symptoms can be
different from person to person. If you have symptoms of celiac disease,
especially ones that last a long time, you should ask your doctor for a celiac
disease blood test. Left untreated, people with celiac disease are at-risk for
serious health consequences, like other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis,
thyroid disease, and even certain cancers.
According to the National Institutes for Health, foods such as meat, fish, fruits,
vegetables, rice, and potatoes without additives or seasonings do not contain
gluten and are part of a well-balanced diet. You can eat gluten-free types of
bread, pasta, and other foods that are now easier to find in stores,
restaurants, and at special food companies. You also can eat potato, rice, soy,
amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, or bean flour instead of wheat flour.
In the
past, doctors and dietitians advised against eating oats if you have celiac
disease. Evidence suggests that most people with the disease can safely eat
moderate amounts of oats, as long as they did not come in contact with wheat
gluten during processing. You should talk with your health care team about
whether to include oats in your diet.
When
shopping and eating out, remember to:
·        
Read
food labels —especially on canned, frozen, and processed foods—for ingredients
that contain gluten.
·        
Identify
foods labelled “gluten-free;” by law, these foods must contain less than 20
parts per million, well below the threshold to cause problems in the great
majority of patients with celiac disease.
·        
Ask
restaurant servers and chefs about how they prepare the food and what is in it
·        
Find
out whether a gluten-free menu is available.
·        
Ask
a dinner or party host about gluten-free options before attending a social
gathering.
Foods
labeled gluten-free tend to cost more than the same foods that have gluten. You
may find that naturally gluten-free foods are less expensive. With practice, looking
for gluten can become second nature. If you have just been diagnosed with
celiac disease, you and your family members may find support groups helpful as
you adjust to a new approach to eating. A significant amount of additional
support material is found at this website: 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024528/
.
According
to Today,
could a normally harmless virus cause a sensitivity to
gluten? A new study has found that a certain type of virus could trigger a
person’s immune system to overreact to gluten, leading to celiac disease. The
findings, published this month in Science,
provide an explanation for why certain people develop celiac disease.
People with celiac disease had more antibodies to
reoviruses in their blood compared to healthy individuals. Furthermore, these
people with more antibodies were found to have more of the celiac disease
inflammation. Whether a person was infected with reoviruses at some point in
the past could explain why they develop celiac at a certain age or had worse
symptoms compared to others who were not infected. More information about this research is found here: http://www.today.com/health/celiac-disease-may-be-caused-virus-new-study-finds-t110119
.



Regardless
of your sensitivity to gluten, you should take preventive measures to ensure
you have all the answers about celiac disease. You may suffer from it and not
even know you have it. See your family doctor or a health care specialist if
you have questions or may be experiencing some of the symptoms. Celiac disease
has definite consequences to your health. Don’t take chances.

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