In our last article, we outlined the steps for making gluten-free bread for people with Celiac disease. When I published the article and read it over again, it occurred to me that people would really want to know more about this celiac disease, especially the symptoms and how to treat this condition.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. When people that have celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These lead to damage on the small fingerlike projections or structures that line the small intestine — the villi. The villi (singular villus) promote nutrient absorption in the small intestine. When the villi get damaged, nutrients can no longer be absorbed properly into the body.
What Are The Symptoms of Celiac Disease
- Digestive problems (abdominal bloating, pain, gas, diarrhea, pale stools, and weight loss)
- A severe skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
- Iron deficiency anemia (low blood count)
- Musculoskeletal problems (muscle cramps, joint and bone pain)
- Growth problems and failure to thrive (in children)
- Tingling sensation in the legs (caused by nerve damage and low calcium)
- Aphthous ulcers (sores in the mouth)
- Missed menstrual periods
Since people with Celiac disease have deficiencies in absorbing nutrients, there are diseases that often accompany this condition. Some of these diseases are listed below;
- Osteoporosis, a disease that causes weakness of bones and leads to fractures. This is due to the fact that the person has trouble absorbing enough calcium and vitamin D.
- Miscarriage or infertility.
- Birth defects, such as neural tube defects (improper formation of the spine) caused by poor absorption of such nutrients as folic acid.
- Growth problems in children because they don’t absorb enough nutrients.
- In rare cases, Cancer of the intestine [Source: WebMD.com]
Is There Treatment For Celiac Disease? How Do You Treat Celiac Disease?
Yes, you can manage this condition with a gluten-free diet. Doctors normally treat celiac disease through prescription of a gluten-free diet. For most people, symptoms significantly improve with celiac disease who follow a gluten-free diet [niddk.nih.gov].
Alternatively, a dietitian can create a diet for you and teach you how to avoid gluten while following a healthy and nutritious diet.