Celiac

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.

Although statistics are not readily available, it is estimated that 1 in 133 persons in Canada are affected by celiac disease.


Symptoms:

Common symptoms are anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps and bloating, irritability.

Although some or all of these symptoms occur in celiac disease, some can also occur in many other diseases more common than celiac disease.

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.

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.


Treatment:

Celiac disease as yet has no known cure, but can usually be effectively treated and controlled. The treatment of celiac disease is strict adherence to a GLUTEN FREE DIET FOR LIFE. This requires knowledgeable dietetic counselling and frequent "up-dates" as commercial food contents change.

The person with celiac disease MUST READ THE LIST OF INGREDIENTS ON ALL LABELS, EVERY TIME.

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.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Who are celiacs?

Celiac disease can surface at any age. Until recently, it was recognized mainly in children. The rate at which adults are being diagnosed is increasing, particularly those in the 40-50 year old range, due to greater awareness and improved diagnosis skills. New medical studies indicate that the disease may be much more common than previously recognized.

Is it hereditary?

While it is still unknown whether celiac disease is passed on by a dominant or recessive gene it has been established that genetic factors are involved. About 10% of the relatives of persons with celiac disease may also have the condition.


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More Information:

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