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Celiac Disease Center at Columbia
University - May/June Newsletter.
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Celiac Disease (also known as Celiac Sprue and Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy) is an autoimmune disease triggered, in genetically susceptible individuals, by the ingestion of gluten, a plant protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Celiac disease interferes with the absorption of essential nutrients. Damage to the small intestine is caused by an immunologically toxic reaction to the ingestion of foods containing gluten. Celiac Disease may manifest itself at any age and is a permanent intolerance that is never outgrown.
|Celiac Disease occurs when you have all 3 of the following:
- The genetic predisposition.
- Exposure to gluten.
- A trigger (usually brought on by a stress to your body, i.e. a virus, pregnancy, severe emotional stress, physical trauma, surgery, or other environmental factors.)
WHAT IS GLUTEN?
Gluten* is a protein found primarily in wheat, (including durham, semolina, and spelt) barley, rye and *oats and possibly related hybrids such as triticale and kamut. Oats* theoretically are safe, however, because of possible cross contamination during the processing (especially in the US) the use of oats* is not recommended.
Celiac Disease may occur at any age and may cause a wide variety of symptoms including, but not limited to:
- abdominal cramps, bloating, gas
- bone pain
- chronic diarrhea and/or constipation
- depression and irritability
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is the associated skin condition characterized by blistering, intensely itchy skin.
- early osteoporosis
- fatigue, lack of energy
- growth failure in children.
- IBS - Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Infertility or multiple miscarriages
- itchy, blistering skin condition (known as Dermatitis Herpetiformis).
- lactose intolerance
- Neuropathy - tingling of the hands & feet
- tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
- weight loss
WHO IS AT INCREASED RISK FOR CELIAC DISEASE?
While certain groups are more predisposed to have Celiac Disease than others, people with any ethnic background may in fact carry and develop Celiac Disease. The risk of developing Celiac Disease is greater for individuals with a family history of Celiac Disease or associated immunological disorders:
- IGA Nephtopathy and IGA Deficiency
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
- Thyroid Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Liver Disease
- Myasthenia Gravis
Or the following conditions:
- Down Syndrome
- Bone and Muscle Disorders
- Celiac Disease can occur at any age.
- Screening consists of blood tests.
- Patients with positive results should have a small bowel biopsy to confirm diagnosis. (These tests will not be accurate unless the patient has remained on a regular gluten containing diet.)
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis (DH) is diagnosed by a biopsy of a skin lesions and staining for IgA in the tissue. More than 85% of DH patients also have small bowel sensitivity to gluten.
- Patients with Celiac Disease should be monitored regularly to determine their reaction and adherence to a gluten free diet.
|LIVING GLUTEN FREE
The only treatment for Celiac Disease is adherence to a 100%
gluten-free diet for life.
Patients must eliminate all sources of Gluten** even small trace amounts. Once the gluten free diet is maintained, the intestine may heal and overall health will improve.
Lifestyle changes will be required in order to adapt to the gluten free diet. Left untreated, Celiac Disease can be life threatening.
Long term complications can include, Lymphoma, a cancer of the gastrointestinal track, Osteoporosis and severe nutritional deficiencies.
People with Celiac Disease must be aware of hidden gluten in products which do not specifically list wheat, rye, barley or oats.*
These products include soups, salad dressings, processed foods and pharmaceuticals.
Other sources of hidden gluten can be found on labels noting: starch, modified food starch, HVP (Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein), HPP (Hydrolyzed Plant Protein), binders, fillers, extenders, malt, natural flavoring.
If any product is being used on a regular basis, contact the manufacture for a more definitive answer.
WHEN IN DOUBT, GO WITHOUT!
Thank you to Proctor and Gamble
for helping us to establish this informational web site in December of 2004.