Celiac disease is a digestive disorder in which the immune system reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Over time, this reaction damages the small intestine’s lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients.
This disease often begins between 6 months and 2 years of age. However, it may develop at any age.
About 1 in 141 Americans suffer from celiac disease, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It is also known as celiac sprue, non-tropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy. It is similar to gluten intolerance, which is less severe than celiac disease.
Some of the classic symptoms or indicators of the disease include bloating, weight loss, loss of appetite and chronic diarrhea. In addition to digestive trouble, some people also exhibit other symptoms including anemia, loss of bone density, itchy or blistery skin rash, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, acid reflux, irregular menstrual periods, tooth discoloration, infertility.
The symptoms can vary from person to person depending on several factors, such as the length of time one was breastfed as an infant, the age one started eating gluten, the amount of gluten one consumes and the severity of intestinal damage.
Genetic predisposition is a common risk factor for this disease. Other diseases that can also increase your risk of this disease are lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, autoimmune liver disease, Addison’s disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, Down syndrome, Turner’s syndrome, lactose intolerance, intestinal cancer and intestinal lymphoma.
There’s no cure for celiac disease, but this does not mean that having celiac disease is the end of the world. You just need to be a bit more careful with what you eat and you can easily manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing.
Here are the top 10 tips to deal with celiac disease.
1. Eliminate Gluten from Your Diet
A strict, lifelong gluten-free diet is one of the most important things you need to do when dealing with this celiac disease. Once you remove gluten from your diet, the inflammation in the small intestine reduces gradually. This in turn reduces the severity of the symptoms and you start feeling better.
It’s important to know that wheat and all of its forms are not the only foods that contain gluten.