Celiac Info

Celiac Disease is a lifelong, digestive disorder affecting children and adults. Essentially, every time a person with celiac consumes gluten (which is found in wheat, barley, rye and cross-contaminated oats) the body attacks itself.

Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune disorder. When people with celiac eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by attacking the villi in the small intestine. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnutrition and a host of other serious problems.

Celiac disease is not a food allergy; rather it is an autoimmune disease. There are currently no drugs to treat celiac disease (though some are being developed) and people with celiac do not outgrow it. But celiacs can lead normal, healthy lives by following a strict gluten-free diet.

Symptoms

Celiac disease affects people differently. There are hundreds of signs and symptoms of celiac disease, yet many people with celiac disease have no symptoms at all. Some people develop celiac disease as children, others as adults.

Children tend to have the more classic signs of celiac disease, including growth problems, failure to thrive, chronic diarrhea/constipation, recurring abdominal bloating and pain, fatigue and irritability.

A blood test can screen for the presence of specific antibodies. A biopsy of the intestine (before beginning a gluten free diet) is needed to make a final diagnosis.

According to the University of Chicago, symptoms of celiac disease may include one or more of the following:

  • Recurring abdominal bloating and pain
  • Chronic diarrhea/constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Pale, foul-smelling stool
  • Iron-deficiency anemia that does not respond to iron therapy
  • Fatigue
  • Failure to thrive or short stature
  • Delayed puberty
  • Pain in the joints
  • Tingling numbness in the legs
  • Pale sores inside the mouth
  • A skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH)
  • Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
  • Unexplained infertility, recurrent miscarriage
  • Osteopenia (mild) or osteoporosis (more serious bone density problem)

Resources:

Celiac Disease Foundation, www.celiac.org

Celiac Sprue Association, www.csaceliacs.org

Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, www.gluten.net

The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, www.celiacdisease.net

The University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research,www.celiaccenter.org

7 responses to “Celiac Info

  1. Laurel

    Wish I knew a year ago how gluten can cause peripheral neuropathy. I’ve had burning/tingling in my arms & legs for over a year now, in addition to classic digestive troubles. My doctor was worse than useless in my diagnosis. I found out myself that I have a gluten problem by ordering a $100 test from Entero Lab. Then I went off of gluten, neuropathy still persisted, then I found out that Metformin (which I’m on) can prevent B12 from being absorbed. Doc never mentioned that either. Then I found out that lack of B vitamins can cause neuropathy and started taking B12 shots. Miracle stuff! All fixed by me and no help from doctors whatsoever. Sheesh.

    Whatever happened to the Hippocratic oath “First do no harm….”

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  2. deb wells

    Hi there…

    just read your article on EGID on Life without. Anyway, the 20 year old, Jessica deCsesznak, you mentioned in your article needs to be in touch with some other families like hers. There is a small percentage of EGID families who have been diagnosed with a mitochondrial disorder, which is a defect in energy metabolism. Dr Putnam from Cinci has discovered this link. My child has both. Anyway, the ‘new’ symptoms she described are very unlikely to EGID related and she should be worked up by a mito-knowledgeable doctor. She is welcome to contact me for more info or research on her own.

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    • Deb,
      Thanks for your message about the story in Living Without, http://www.livingwithout.com/issues/4_13/Life_Without_Food-2400-1.html. For readers unfamiliar with it, eosinophilic gastrointestinal disease (EGID) is a category of allergic inflammatory diseases that affect the esophagus and gastrointestinal tract. These allergies are so much harder to diagnose than traditional allergies, and the treatment is eliminating many foods. APFED, http://www.apfed.org, is a great source of support. I will also forward your note to Jessica. Thanks for writing.
      Eve

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      • Deb,
        My daughter has been gluten, dairy (casein) and egg free since the age of 5 and is currently 16. In the last 4 years she has been diagnosed with Crohn’s and GERD and still has some undiagnosed issues.
        I have been cooking this way for 11 years and have good egg substitutes for most recipes; however, I have yet to be able to make matzo ball soup for her as the matzo balls don’t stick together without the eggs – any suggestions? I order – not very good – gluten-fre matzo that she only eats out of despartion for sedar. (can’t do yehuda brand as it has egg) THis year I am experimenting, trying to come up with my own recipe but have yet to figure out a recipe for faux matzo that is GF, DF, EF and doesn’t crumble. Thanks.

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  3. Kathleen

    Just made your Luscious Gluten-Free Lemon Squares. Delicious! Thank you, thank you! The only problem I have now will be trying to resist eating the whole pan myself.

    Like

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