In 2018 my husband was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. It was a real eye-opener for my family and I. Now we have to think twice before we do anything with food in our home. It takes longer to do the grocery shopping. And the cost for gluten free products is so much higher.
So what is gluten free living? Many people today believe it is healthier to eat gluten free. When you have Celiac Disease you must eat Gluten Free to elimate the symptoms and let the heal begin. And because their is a demand for gluten free foods it has gotten easier to find products that are gluten free and go to restaurants and find a gluten free menu.
So now when will the prices decrease? That is what I want to know!
What is Celiac’s Disease
Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune digestive disease. A reaction occurs when someone with Celiac’s eats gluten which is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. This starts an immune reaction that causes antibodies to attack the small intestine lining by destroying or flattening the villi.
The villi are small finger like projections that line the small intestine and promote nutrient absorption into the body. Without the villi your body will not be able to effectively absorb nutrients through the small intestinal wall. Therefore, minerals, vitamins, proteins, and fats pass through the body without being absorbed which can lead to malnutrition.
Gluten is the protein that makes dough elastic, and gives the chewy texture to bread.
Celiac disease, is also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
Celiac Disease is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people around the world. Approximately three million Americans have Celiac Disease. There are about Two and one-half million Americans still not diagnosed and are at risk of long-term health complications.
Celiac Disease vs Gluten Sensitivity
There is one big difference between Celiac disease and having a Gluten Sensitivity and that is the small intestine. Celiac disease damages the lining of the small intestine if any amount of gluten is consumed. With Gluten Sensitivity you could have symptoms like abdominal pain, fatigue, headaches, skin rash, wheezing, or diarrhea that can be painful but it is not damaging your small intestine. A Gluten Free Diet for both groups of people will eliminate the symptoms and start to heal the villi in the small intestine. Wheat allergies are often outgrown.
Who gets Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is hereditary so if you have an immediate family member with it your risk of having it or getting it is higher. It is a genetic disorder so if you have a parent, sibling or child who has celiac disease, you have a 1 in 10 chance of getting it yourself. Because you have the genes for Celiac doesn’t mean you will automatically get it.
Caucasians and people with other diseases are groups to have the highest risk for acquiring Celiac Disease.
Children with a parent or sibling with celiac disease should be screened.
Researchers still don’t know why people that are predisposed for Celiac can tolerate it for years and then develop the immune reaction. Celiac can develop at any age once you start eating gluten. People with celiac disease have a higher chance of developing osteoporosis, infertility, and some neurological problems. Traumatic events can trigger Celiac’s
On average, it takes four years for someone with symptoms to be diagnosed with Celiac’s. Many do not have outward symptoms of Celiac Disease therefore would not think to go to the doctor until it is serious. Sixty percent of children and forty-one percent of adults do not show signs of Celiac’s. Left untreated their can be serious health issues.
Below are several factors for putting you at a greater risk for developing Celiac Disease
- Genetically predisposed people
- Exposure to gluten before 3 months of age
- Major life event, emotional stress, pregnancy, or surgery
- Autoimmune diseases, Thyroid disease, Type 1 diabetes
- Another genetic disorder such as Down syndrome or Turner syndrome
- Rheumatoid arthritis, or Addison’s disease
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
There are many symptoms of celiac disease from mild to severe. Some people have no symptoms, although they still are developing intestinal damage. Irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, and gastric ulcers can cause misdiagnoses of Celiac Disease.
Symptoms can start as soon as gluten is introduced
Digestive symptoms may include one or more of the following Abdominal bloating and pain, Constipation, Diarrhea, Pale, foul-smelling stool, and Vomiting.
The following symptoms are more likely to be seen in Adults:
Bone or joint pain/arthritis, Depression/Anxiety, Dermatitis Herpetiformis/Rash, also, Fatigue, Migraines or Seizures, Mouth ulcers/canker sores, Osteoporosis or osteopenia, You may also have Liver and Billary tract disorders, Peripheral neropathy, and Anemia.
Digestive symptoms are more common in infants and Children
Some of those symptoms are :
Abdominal bloating and pain, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Chronic diarrhea, Constipation and Delayed growth and puberty. Also, they may find they have Fatigue, Irritability and behavioral issues, Short stature/failure to thrive, Vomiting as well as Weight Loss. The dentist can notice Teeth that are pitted, discolored, grooved, or deformed.
Untreated Celiac Disease – What can it lead too
Because the symptoms of celiac disease can be varied, it often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Untreated Celiac Disease Can Lead to:
Long-Term Health Conditions
Iron deficiency anemia, Pancreatic insufficiency, Gall bladder malfunction, Lactose intolerance, Early onset osteoporosis, Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, Infertility and miscarriages, Intestinal lymphomas and other GI cancers, Central and peripheral nervous system disorders. Epileptic seizures, neuropathy, ataxia, dementia, myopathy.
Tests to help diagnose Celiac!
There are two blood tests used to help diagnose Celiac Disease. The first one is a Serology test which looks for protein made by your immune system. Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies are present is about 98% of people with Celiac’s this test is known as the (tTG-IgA) test.
The second one is an analysis of your DNA to look for HLA class II genes. Specifically DQ2 or DQ8 located on chromosome 6p21. These genes are thought to be necessary for a person to develop the disease. Although many people have the genes and never develop Celiac Disease. If you don’t have the genes your doctor can rule out Celiac Disease.
If you blood test comes back positive you can then have a biopsy of the small intestine to confirm the findings. An endoscope is placed through the mouth and stomach into the small intestine and a small amount of tissue is removed. Celiac disease damages or destroys the small, hairlike protrusions in the intestine known as Villi..
Most people with celiac disease never know they have it. Researchers think as few as 20% of people with the disease ever get a proper diagnosis. The damage to the intestine is very slow, and symptoms are so varied, that it can be years before someone gets a diagnosis.
So what can be done to help!
What is gluten free living to someone with Celiac or even a Gluten sensitivity? It is essential to their well-being to avoid gluten at all costs. Since their is no known cure for Celiac Disease at this time. Being on a strict gluten free diet is the best way to keep the disease under control. This will stop the symptoms and allow your small intestines to begin repairing itself. After you have changed your diet to gluten-free you should start to feel better within days. If you are showing signs of nutritional deficiency you can take gluten-free vitamins and mineral supplement to help get your levels back to normal. For the skin rash their is a medication you can apply.
Studies are underway for new drugs that would enable people with celiac disease to eat gluten safely. These include enzymes, taken as a pill, that break down the gluten. Immunotherapy injections may counteract the underlying immune reaction to gluten. Scientists have even tested hookworms, a parasite that can live in the gut, to see if they will help people with celiac disease.