What is it?
Celiac disease is a disease caused by an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley or rye grains. For people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease, following a gluten-free or gluten sensitivity diet is considered “medical nutrition therapy” and is the only definitive way to improve symptoms and prevent future health problems.
What are the symptoms?
Celiac disease symptoms usually involve the intestines and digestive system, but they can also affect other parts of the body. Children and adults tend to have a different set of symptoms. Children with celiac disease can feel tired and irritable. They may also be smaller than normal and have delayed puberty. Other common symptoms include:
- Weight loss.
- Abdominal bloating.
- Abdominal pain.
- Persistent diarrhoea or constipation.
- Pale, fatty, foul-smelling stools.
Adults with celiac disease may experience digestive symptoms. In most cases, however, symptoms also affect other areas of the body. These symptoms may include:
- Iron-deficiency anemia.
- Joint pain and stiffness.
- Weak, brittle bones.
- Skin disorders.
- Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet.
- Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel.
- Pale sores inside the mouth.
- Irregular menstrual periods.
- Infertility and miscarriage.
- Intensely itchy skin rash made up of bumps and blisters. Which may develop on the elbows, buttocks, and knees occur in 15-20% of the patients (Dermatitis Herpetiformis). Such patients may not have other digestive symptoms. Some people with celiac disease have no symptoms. However, they may still develop long-term complications as a result of their disease.
What to expect?
Treatment of celiac disease is a diet free of gluten:
- Do not eat wheat, spelt, rye, barley, triticale, bulgur, durum, farina, graham flour & semolina.
- Do not eat the following unless they are labelled gluten free - beer, bread, cakes and pies, candy, cereals, cookies, crackers, croutons, gravies, oats , pasta, processed lunch meats, sausages, and hot dogs, salad dressings, sauces (includes soy sauce), self-basting poultry, soups.
- Include healthy gluten free foods in your diet such as fresh meats, fish, and poultry that haven’t been breaded, coated, or marinated, fruit, most dairy products, starchy vegetables like peas, potatoes, including sweet potatoes, and corn, rice, beans, and lentils, vegetables, wine, distilled liquors, ciders, and spirits.