Understanding Celiac Disease
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Celiac disease is incurable, but you can manage it by adhering it to a gluten-free diet. Watch this video to better understand celiac disease.
Transcript: As many as one in 133 Americans suffers from the digestive disorder known as celiac disease. So what...
As many as one in 133 Americans suffers from the digestive disorder known as celiac disease. So what is celiac disease anyway? Celiac disease is a digestive condition that is activated by eating the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Although celiac disease cannot be cured, its effects can be tempered by strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. The cause of celiac disease is not fully understood, but it is known to be genetic. In fact, people with celiac in their immediate family are up to 15 times more likely to have the disease. In addition, celiac disease seems to occur mainly in people of European descent. To understand what happens when a person with celiac consumes gluten, it helps to look at the functioning of the small intestine in the digestive system. In a healthy individual, the small intestine is lined with thin, hair-like protrusions called villi, which work to absorb essential nutrients from food. In a person with celiac disease, the body's immune system mistakenly views gluten as a threat. In response, protective proteins known as antibodies are made to destroy the gluten. Unfortunately, these antibodies also injure the villi in the small intestine, temporarily causing them to flatten, and making it impossible for them to absorb nutrients. Because the body's own immune system causes the damage, celiac disease is considered an autoimmune disorder. However, it is also classified as a condition of malabsorption, because vital nutrients are not taken in by the body when villi are flattened. Although the symptoms of celiac disease vary by individual, malabsorption often leads to rapid weight loss. In addition, sufferers may experience abdominal cramping, severe bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Then again, some patients have no symptoms at all. A separate condition, which manifests differently but also stems from the consumption of the gluten protein, is a skin rash known as dermatitis herpetiformis, or DH. Although people with DH do not usually experience symptoms past the rash on their bodies, eating gluten will still affect them internally as it does people with celiac disease. For this reason, people with DH also need to follow a gluten-free diet. This is because if gluten continues to be consumed, celiac disease and DH can lead to potentially deadly cancers in the small intestine. Celiac disease may also lead to infertility in both genders, and miscarriage or birth defects. In addition, osteoporosis, iron-deficiency anemia, severe malnutrition, and delayed growth in children can all follow from the disease. For this reason, it's vital to follow a diet that is 100 percent free of gluten-protein. In most cases, this will restore the villi to health and ease symptoms. Adjusting to a gluten-free diet is a great challenge. However, new food labeling laws, online support networks, and an increasingly aware medical community can all help you cope. Please talk to your doctor if you have concerns about celiac disease.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-01 | Tags »
celiac disease, celiac, gluten, gluten free, gluten intolerance, digestive disorders, genetic disorders, malabsorption, dermatitis herpetiformis, autoimmune disorder diet, wheat, rye, barley, abdominal cramping, severe bloating, gas, diarrhea, infertility conditions, digestive health
Approximately 2 million Americans suffer from celiac disease. Watch this video to learn about diagnosing and treating celiac disease.
Transcript: Celiac disease currently makes over 2 million Americans ill! Luckily, once diagnosed, treating the symptoms...
Celiac disease currently makes over 2 million Americans ill! Luckily, once diagnosed, treating the symptoms of this condition is fairly straightforward. Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that follows from consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, the immune system becomes confused and produces antibodies to fight the protein. Unfortunately, these antibodies also attack the small intestine, making it difficult for the body to absorb vital nutrients from food. Because no two people experience celiac disease the same way, and because the symptoms-such as diarrhea and bloating-are fairly nonspecific, diagnosis of celiac disease can be tricky and the condition may be missed even by the best gastroenterologists. Although asymptomatic Americans are not generally screened for celiac disease, people with first-degree family members who have the condition are often tested, since it is known to be hereditary. To determine if celiac disease is present in a patient, a doctor will perform a blood test to look for antibodies indicative of celiac disease. If the results of the test suggest celiac, a doctor will follow-up with a procedure called an endoscopy. An endoscopy is performed under anesthesia and involves easing a long, thin tube through the mouth and stomach into the small intestine. Once there, the doctor obtains a tissue sample called a biopsy. The biopsy will then be sent to a lab and checked for damage, which would indicate a diagnosis of celiac disease. Celiac disease is not curable, but eliminating all traces of gluten will almost always allow the body to heal and symptoms to abate. Therefore, if these tests indicate the presence of the disease, a gluten-free diet will be recommended. A doctor will suggest that a newly diagnosed patient visit a nutritionist to learn how best to eat a healthy gluten-free diet. The nutritionist will help a patient learn what foods to avoid, beginning with more obvious wheat, rye, and barley products like cakes, breads, beer, and pasta. In addition, gluten is often hidden in surprising places, such as soy sauce, licorice, lipstick, and even postage stamps. Because the consumption of gluten can result in infertility, malnutrition, and potentially deadly cancers, people with celiac disease need to adhere to a lifelong gluten free diet. Fortunately, the growing community of people diagnosed with celiac disease offers a large support network for those who have the disease. If you have concerns about celiac disease, please make an appointment to discuss the condition with your doctor.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-01 | Tags »
celiac disease, celiac treatment, treating celiac disease, endoscopy, gastroenterology, celiac, gluten, gluten free, gluten intolerance, genetic disorders, diagnosis, digestive disorders, autoimmune disorder diet, wheat, rye, barley, infertility, malnutrition, cancer conditions, digestive health
What you eat and how you manage your life-style greatly impacts your digestive system. Watch our video on combating common GI woes to learn more.
Transcript: Integrating nutrition, exercise, and the right medical information into a sound plan for good health...
Integrating nutrition, exercise, and the right medical information into a sound plan for good health may be tough, but we've got just the right person to help you. Coach Kendra is an expert nutritionist, a professional personal trainer, and she's certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Coach Kendra, how can our diet and exercise choices affect our digestive health. Digestive health is intimately linked to what you eat - after all, the digestive process is what breaks the food that you consume into energy and nutrients. Most people who are concerned about their digestive health are worried about a particular problem such as heartburn, diarrhea, or constipation. Each of these conditions has slightly different nutritional needs. People with heartburn are quick to blame their woes on what they eat - but the real culprit is often the way they eat. Two quick ways to get your heartburn in check are to eat less food at each sitting and to avoid eating right before you go to bed. While some people ultimately find that certain foods cause heartburn for them no matter what, many others discover that heartburn can be avoided without eliminating their favorite dishes. Yoga can also be used to help relieve heartburn. Almost everyone experiences constipation at some point in their life. If it happens to you, there are a few simple steps you can take to restore normal movement. The first thing to do is to increase your fiber intake by eating more fruits, vegetables and grains. Fiber helps form soft, bulky stool to increase your regularity. Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water and walking for 20 to 30 minutes each day can also help get things moving. There are also some Yoga moves that can help with constipation. For people who are suffering from Diarrhea, what you eat and drink can affect how long it takes to get better. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water, because diarrhea dehydrates you, and you'll need to replace lost fluids. For additional relief from diarrhea, you can try a little Yoga. Small changes in diet and exercise can be a big help for digestive conditions like these. However, if these digestive ailments persist for more than a couple of days, or you experience fever, chills, or any other unusual symptom, please make sure to see a doctor right away.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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