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Celiac Disease Contributions by ColleenO

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Celiac disease (also called celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is an autoimmune disease affecting the digestive tract. When people with celiac disease eat food with gluten—a type of protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats—it provokes an immune reaction that causes flattening and damage to the small protrusions (villi) in the small intestine that absorb nutrients.

The resulting smooth surface in the lining of the intestine inhibits the ability to digest and absorb nutrients in many, if not all, foods. As a result, people with untreated celiac disease can suffer from malnutrition and a host of symptoms caused by malnutrition. Thus, celiac disease is also classified as a disease of malabsorption.

The Digestive Tract
The Digestive Tract

It is not known exactly why people with celiac disease react to gluten-containing foods in such a negative manner. If you have celiac disease, chances are that approximately 10% of your immediate family does, too. The disease can occur at any age. In some cases, symptoms of the disease do not emerge until after some form of trigger. Triggers can include an infection, pregnancy, severe stress, surgery, or physical injury. To prevent symptoms, a person with celiac disease must avoid foods containing gluten.

What are the risk factors for celiac disease?

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

How is celiac disease diagnosed?

What are the treatments for celiac disease?

Are there screening tests for celiac disease?

How can I reduce my risk of celiac disease?

What questions should I ask my doctor?

What is it like to live with celiac disease?

Where can I get more information about celiac disease?

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The symptoms of celiac disease are many and can vary widely. Consider seeking out herb-based remedies to may help you manage your unique set of symptoms.

... (more)

Stress can both contribute to and result from the experience of living with celiac disease. Finding ways to relax and manage daily stress could improve your mood and sense of well-being, in addition to giving your body the energy it needs to heal.

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Not everyone with celiac disease has symptoms, but for those who do, their symptoms can get in the way of enjoying exercise and daily physical activity. However, movement can help you maintain your health and sense of well-being. Experiment with different forms of movement to find what works for you, and try to do it regularly.

... (more)

In severe cases of celiac disease, corticosteroids (usually Prednisone) are used to help control intestinal inflammation.

People with severe or long-standing celiac disease may also need medically supervised replacement of vitamins and minerals until their intestines recover sufficiently to absorb these nutrients. Supplemental nutrition may be needed intravenously for a short period of time to restore your nutritional deficiencies and help prevent more serious complications from celiac disease. This is called parenteral nutrition.

... (more)

If you have celiac disease, maintaining a gluten-free diet is necessary and extremely effective. While eliminating gluten from your diet may sound daunting, there have never been more products and resources available to help make your diet not only possible, but delicious and satisfying.

People with more severe cases of celiac disease may also need nutritional supplementation prescribed and monitored by their doctor. Everyone with the condition could probably benefit from taking some supplements, as well as consuming a generally nutrient-rich diet.

... (more)

A lifelong, gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. Fortunately, it is extremely effective. Symptoms often go away within days of starting the diet. (Some symptoms, such as certain dental problems, may be permanent). Complete healing, however, of damaged villi lining the intestines may take months or years.

Additional intake of gluten can damage the intestine, even if you have no symptoms. Nutritional supplements, given intravenously, may be needed if the intestinal damage is significant and does not heal.

Since gluten is present in many foods (eg, bread and pasta) and it is often an additive to many foods, the diet can be complicated and frustrating. Many patients people seek the help of a dietitian in meal planning. Some patients find support groups helpful.

... (more)

Following a gluten-free diet can be difficult to adjust to, especially if you have been recently diagnosed with celiac disease. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed MyPyramid, which provides guidelines for healthy eating and focuses on six food groups. While MyPyramid is intended for the general population, below are some suggestions for eating gluten-free while following the USDA’s food guidelines.

Grains

Out of all of the food groups, the grain group poses the most problems for people with celiac disease. This is because many of these products contain gluten. But there are gluten-free choices, including:

  • Amaranth
  • Bean flour
  • Corn flour and corn meal
  • Potato flour
  • Rice flour and rice
  • Soy flour
  • Flax
  • Millet
  • Quinoa
  • Oats—These are naturally gluten-free, but are often processed with wheat products. Some companies sell “uncontaminated” oats.

When shopping, check the food label to see if the product is labeled as “gluten-free.” Regular grocery stores may offer some of these products, but natural food stores will have a larger selection—like gluten-free breads, cereals, pasta, and tortillas. You can also order these products online.

How Much Per Day? 5-8 ounces, depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity

Vegetables

You can eat nearly all types of fresh, frozen, and canned veggies. You should avoid vegetables in sauce since sauces could contain gluten. Also avoid any veggies that are breaded, as well as French fries. Other than that, you can enjoy a variety of veggies during your day, like broccoli, lettuce, spinach, carrots, corn, peas, and eggplant.

How Much Per Day? 2-3 cups, depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity

Fruits

As with the veggie group, you will be able to enjoy a range of fresh and frozen fruits. Most canned fruits are also safe to eat, especially those that are packed in natural juices. But double-check the label for any gluten additives. If you like dried fruit, remember to look at the list of ingredients. Some dried fruits have been dusted with flour to prevent the pieces from sticking together. You will need to avoid fruits in sauce and fruit pie fillings since these, too, may have additives.

A Note About Additives: Many additives contain gluten. To follow a gluten-free diet, familiarize yourself with these additives so that you will be able to spot them on food labels. There are some additives that are safe for you to eat. A few examples include gelatin, maltodextrin, sorbitol, and xanthan gum.

How Much Per Day? 1½ to 2 cups, depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity

Dairy

All types of products made from milk fall into this category. Many people with celiac disease also develop a sensitivity to dairy. If dairy isn't a problem for you, good gluten-free options include aged cheeses, plain yogurt, and cream. Fresh, dried, and evaporated milk are all okay for you to consume. Avoid malted milk since it has barley and wheat. Also, keep in mind that chocolate milk and other flavored milk drinks may have gluten.

Be sure to read the labels of cheese sauces and spreads, which may contain additives. In addition, flavored yogurt, frozen yogurt, and ice cream may have either additives or ingredients (like cookie dough or granola) that include gluten.

How Much Per Day? 3 cups

Meats and Beans

You have a lot of options with this food group. Fresh fish, poultry, and meat are all safe to eat. You can also have eggs, tuna canned in oil or water, plain nuts, and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils). Try to avoid processed meats, like cold cuts, hot dogs, and sausages, which may have wheat fillers. Meat marinades, flavorings, and seasonings should also be on the “do not eat” list. Also keep in mind that imitation seafood and meat (eg, veggie burgers), as well as anything breaded, contain gluten.

How Much Per Day? 5 to 6½ ounces, depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity

Fats and Oils

Many people get fat in their diet by eating common oils like olive, canola, and corn oil. Other sources of fat include nuts, olives, oily fish (eg, salmon), avocados, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and butter. Mayonnaise and some salad dressings and margarines may contain gluten, but gluten-free varieties are available in stores and online.

How Much Per Day? 6-7 teaspoons, depending on your age, gender, and level of physical activity

... (more)

A gluten-free diet is an a necessary and effective treatment for celiac disease. By eliminating gluten, the offending substance, you can halt the damage and many of the symptoms caused by the body's reaction to gluten. Abstaining from gluten allows the villi lining the intestines to heal. This may take months or years. Eventually, the intestines will be more capable of performing their essential role of absorbing nutrients from the diet.

... (more)

Following a gluten-free diet can be challenging in our gluten-filled world. Fortunately, an increasing number of gluten-free products are available to help. Also, due to rising awareness about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, more people are coming together online and in person to support each other and share resources.

Foods to Avoid

To follow a gluten-free diet, you must avoid all foods containing:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Oats (in most cases)
  • Note: This list includes most bread, pasta, cereal, and processed foods. Special gluten-free breads and pastas are available. They are made with potato, rice, soy, or bean flour.

Doctors are still uncertain as to whether people with celiac disease must avoid all foods containing oats. Research is currently underway to answer this question. Until these studies are completed, ask your doctor for advice about eating oats. Many people with celiac disease also become lactose intolerant. If you are lactose intolerant, you may also need to avoid milk products. In some people, lactose intolerance resolves after following a gluten-free diet.

Managing the Diet

Maintaining a gluten-free diet requires a lot of vigilance since gluten is included in many unexpected foods and beverages. When buying processed and packaged foods, carefully read all labels. If you are unsure if a food contains gluten, don’t eat it until you find out definitively. Calling the manufacturer of the food can sometimes be helpful in this regard.

A short (but by no means exhaustive) list of other foods that contain gluten include:

  • Flavored coffee
  • Beer
  • Tuna in vegetable broth
  • Packaged rice mixes
  • Some frozen potatoes
  • Creamed vegetables
  • Commercially prepared vegetables, salads, and salad dressings
  • Pudding
  • Some ice cream

Ordering at restaurants can also be challenging since many foods on the menu may contain gluten. Rather than shying away from eating at restaurants, however, call ahead and see if you can get details on what ingredients they use in their foods. Many restaurants will be cooperative in this regard.

... (more)

Following a gluten-free diet can be challenging in our gluten-filled world. Fortunately, an increasing number of gluten-free products are available to help. Also, due to rising awareness about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, more people are coming together online and in person to support each other and share resources.

Foods to Avoid

To follow a gluten-free diet, you must avoid all foods containing:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Oats (in most cases)
  • Note: This list includes most bread, pasta, cereal, and processed foods. Special gluten-free breads and pastas are available. They are made with potato, rice, soy, or bean flour.

Doctors are still uncertain as to whether people with celiac disease must avoid all foods containing oats. Research is currently underway to answer this question. Until these studies are completed, ask your doctor for advice about eating oats. Many people with celiac disease also become lactose intolerant. If you are lactose intolerant, you may also need to avoid milk products. In some people, lactose intolerance resolves after following a gluten-free diet.

Managing the Diet

Maintaining a gluten-free diet requires a lot of vigilance since gluten is included in many unexpected foods and beverages. When buying processed and packaged foods, carefully read all labels. If you are unsure if a food contains gluten, don’t eat it until you find out definitively. Calling the manufacturer of the food can sometimes be helpful in this regard.

A short (but by no means exhaustive) list of other foods that contain gluten include:

  • Flavored coffee
  • Beer
  • Tuna in vegetable broth
  • Packaged rice mixes
  • Some frozen potatoes
  • Creamed vegetables
  • Commercially prepared vegetables, salads, and salad dressings
  • Pudding
  • Some ice cream

Ordering at restaurants can also be challenging since many foods on the menu may contain gluten. Rather than shying away from eating at restaurants, however, call ahead and see if you can get details on what ingredients they use in their foods. Many restaurants will be cooperative in this regard.

When to Contact Your Doctor

If, despite maintaining a gluten-free diet, your symptoms worsen or do not improve, contact your doctor.

... (more)

Since gluten is present in many foods (eg, bread and pasta) and it is often an additive to many foods, the following a gluten-free diet can be complicated and frustrating. Many patients people seek the help of a dietitian nutritionist in meal planning. Some patients find support groups helpful. Due to an increasing awareness about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, online and in-person support resources are on the rise.

... (more)

Following a gluten-free diet can be challenging in our gluten-filled world. Fortunately, an increasing number of gluten-free products are available to help. Also, due to rising awareness about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, more people are coming together online and in person to support each other and share resources.

Foods to Avoid

To follow a gluten-free diet, you must avoid all foods containing:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley
  • Oats (in most cases)
  • Note: This list includes most bread, pasta, cereal, and processed foods. Special gluten-free breads and pastas are available. They are made with potato, rice, soy, or bean flour.

Doctors are still uncertain as to whether people with celiac disease must avoid all foods containing oats. Research is currently underway to answer this question. Until these studies are completed, ask your doctor for advice about eating oats. Many people with celiac disease also become lactose intolerant. If you are lactose intolerant, you may also need to avoid milk products. In some people, lactose intolerance resolves after following a gluten-free diet.

Managing the Diet

Maintaining a gluten-free diet requires a lot of vigilance since gluten is included in many unexpected foods and beverages. When buying processed and packaged foods, carefully read all labels. If you are unsure if a food contains gluten, don’t eat it until you find out definitively. Calling the manufacturer of the food can sometimes be helpful in this regard.

A short (but by no means exhaustive) list of other foods that contain gluten include:

  • Flavored coffee
  • Beer
  • Tuna in vegetable broth
  • Packaged rice mixes
  • Some frozen potatoes
  • Creamed vegetables
  • Commercially prepared vegetables, salads, and salad dressings
  • Pudding
  • Some ice cream

Ordering at restaurants can also be challenging since many foods on the menu may contain gluten. Rather than shying away from eating at restaurants, however, call ahead and see if you can get details on what ingredients they use in their foods. Many restaurants will be cooperative in this regard.

... (more)

A gluten-free diet is a necessary and effective treatment for celiac disease. By eliminating gluten, the offending substance, you can halt the damage and many of the symptoms caused by the body's reaction to gluten. Abstaining from gluten allows the villi lining the intestines to heal. This may take months or years. Eventually, the intestines will be more capable of performing their essential role of absorbing nutrients from the diet.

... (more)

Since gluten is present in many foods and it is often an additive to many foods, following a gluten-free diet can be complicated and frustrating. Many people seek the help of a nutritionist in meal planning. Some patients find support groups helpful. Due to an increasing awareness about celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, online and in-person support resources are on the rise.

... (more)

A lifelong, gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. Fortunately, it is extremely effective. Symptoms often go away within days of starting the diet. (Some symptoms, such as certain dental problems, may be permanent). Complete healing, however, of damaged villi lining the intestines may take months or years.

Additional intake of gluten can damage the intestine, even if you have no symptoms. Nutritional supplements, given intravenously, may be needed if the intestinal damage is significant and does not heal.

Since gluten is present in many foods (eg, bread and pasta) and it is often an additive to many foods, the diet can be complicated and frustrating. Many people seek the help of a dietitian in meal planning. Some patients find support groups helpful.

... (more)

A gluten-free diet is a necessary and effective treatment for celiac disease. By eliminating gluten, the offending substance, you can halt the damage and many of the symptoms caused by the body's reaction to gluten. Abstaining from gluten allows the villi lining the intestines to heal. This may take months or years. Eventually, the intestines will be more capable of performing their essential role of absorbing nutrients from the diet.

... (more)

If you have severe celiac disease, you should be seeing a doctor or other qualified health professional who can prescribe supplements and monitor your progress. For general nutritional support, seek counsel from a nutritionist or other health professional who specializes in nutrition, such as a naturopath.

... (more)
  1. McClelland RS, Baeten JM, Overbaugh J, Richardson BA, Mandaliya K, Emery S, Lavreys L, Ndinya-Achola JO, Bankson DD, Bwayo JJ, Kreiss JK. Micronutrient supplementation increases genital tract shedding of HIV-1 in women: results of a randomized trial. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 37(5):1657-63.
... (more)

In severe cases of celiac disease, corticosteroids (usually Prednisone) are used to help control intestinal inflammation.

People with severe or long-standing celiac disease may also need medically supervised replacement of vitamins and minerals until their intestines recover sufficiently to absorb these nutrients. Supplemental nutrition may be needed intravenously for a short period of time to restore your nutritional deficiencies and help prevent more serious complications from celiac disease. This is called parenteral nutrition.

... (more)

Experiences

Shared experience with Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free Diet 8 years ago

I don't have celiac disease, but I've experimented with gluten-free eating to test myself for gluten sensitivity and also understand more about the experience of avoiding gluten. Most people would probably benefit from at least reducing the amount of gluten-containing foods in their diet, because those foods aren't usually all that nutritious (bread, pasta, cookies, etc.). It's an easy way to improve the quality of your overall diet.

I don't have celiac disease, but I've experimented with gluten-free eating to test myself for gluten sensitivity and also understand more about the experience of avoiding gluten. Most people would...

...
(more)