Celiac Disease is a serious genetic Autoimmune Disease in which a persons body is actually harmed by the presence of Gluten (a protein found in wheat & other grains). Being a Celiac is an actual medical condition and must be taken seriously. It is NOT the same as someone who choses to be Gluten Free by dietary preference only.
What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease?
According to Celiac.org, symptoms of Celiac Disease can vary depending on a number of factors. Here are a few of the signs to look out for in Children and/or Adults:
- abdominal bloating and pain
- chronic diarrhea or vomiting or constipation
- pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
- iron-deficiency anemia
- weight loss
- irritability and behavioral issues
- dental enamel defects of the permanent teeth
- delayed growth and puberty
- short stature
- failure to thrive
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- bone or joint pain
- arthritis osteoporosis or osteopenia (bone loss)
- liver and biliary tract disorders
- depression or anxiety
- peripheral neuropathy (tingling, numbness or pain in the hands and feet)
- seizures or migraines
- missed menstrual periods
- infertility or recurrent miscarriage
- canker sores inside the mouth
- herpetiformis (itchy skin rash)
Here's a picture below from the Mayo Clinic showing the difference between the Normal Villi in the Small Intestine vs. the Damaged Villi caused by Celiac Disease.
As you can see, Gluten doesn't just cause inflammation in Celiacs, but also creates severe (and often permanent) damage, as well as interference with the absorption of nutrients.
How many people have Celiac Disease?
According to Wikipedia, an estimated 1-2% of the world's population is considered to have Celiac - With an additional undiagnosed population estimated to be in the 2-3 million range.
There is also an estimated 6-10% of the population with non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity and other Disorders that benefit from a Gluten Free Diet.
Is there a treatment for Celiac Disease?
The only effective treatment currently available for Celiac Disease is a lifelong adherence to a strict 100% Gluten Free diet. This means people MUST avoid foods which contain any Gluten whatsoever. Even a single crumb cross contaminated from a cutting board, toaster or utensil can trigger a reaction and small intestine damage!
What to do if you think you have Celiac Disease?
We always recommend talking to your own doctor first. Getting a medical diagnosis for Celiac Disease requires some testing and elimination of other possible medical conditions.
We also suggest starting with the following reputable Celiac sites. Like us, these folks are passionate about your health, well being and becoming part of a supportive Gluten Free community.
- Celiac Disease Foundation
- National Celiac Association
- Beyond Celiac
- Functional Medicine Approach to Celiac Disease
- University of Chicago - Celiac Disease Center
- UCLA Health - Celiac Disease Program
- Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University
The great news is that we live in a time where really good Gluten Free Food, Recipes and Supportive Community is at an all-time high. Our options nowadays are excellent! In fact, that's why we put together Gluten Free Weekly - to help you find all of The BEST Gluten Free Recipes, Reviews & More all in one place.
Still have questions? Leave us a comment or send us a note!