Friday, September 13, 2013

Today is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day

Did you know that as many as 2 million Americans may have celiac disease, but most don’t know it? Celiac disease (aka gluten intolerance) is an immune disease in which people can’t eat gluten because it will damage their small intestine. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease is hereditary (meaning it runs in families) Both adults and children can have it.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?
  1. stomach pain 
  2. gas 
  3. diarrhea 
  4. extreme tiredness 
  5. change in mood 
  6. weight loss 
  7. a very itchy skin rash with blisters 
  8. slowed growth
Celiac disease affects each person differently. Symptoms may occur in the digestive system, or in other parts of the body. One person might have diarrhea and abdominal pain, while another person may be irritable or depressed. Irritability is one of the most common symptoms in children. Some people have no symptoms.

How do you know if you have celiac disease?
Celiac disease can be hard to diagnose because some of its symptoms are like the symptoms of other diseases. Blood tests can help your doctor diagnose the disease. Your doctor may also need to examine a small piece of tissue from your small intestine.

How do you treat celiac disease?
The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. A dietitian can help you in creating a balanced diet with gluten-free foods.

(Source: U.S. National Library of Medicine)

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