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Celiac Sprue, may be affecting you!

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Celiac Sprue, may be affecting you!

It's also Celiac Awareness Month!!!  Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Celiac disease is genetic, meaning it runs in families. Sometimes the disease is triggered—or becomes active for the first time—after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress. Celiac disease is a digestive disease effecting the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.  People with the disease cannot tolerate gluten which is a protein in wheat, barley, and rye.  Gluten can also be found in many foods but also as a filler in many products that are not foods such as lip balms, medications, vitamins, supplements, etc.  Celiac disease is once of malabsorption and an immune response to gluten, which makes it a very uncomfortable and difficult disease to have.  The little villi (the finger-like protrusions in your small intenstine that absorb nutrients from the foodstuffs in your intestine)get destroyed by the immune response to the gluten. Without healthy villi, you will be malnourished because your body cannot absorb any of the nutrients from food.

Symptoms?  For Infants and children the symptoms are usually more digestive, but can vary person to person:
Abdominal pain and bloating
chronic diarrhea
weight loss
pale, foul smelling, fatty stool
*for children, a poor nutrition at a young age can cause stunted growth, poor enamel on teeth, delayed puberty, and failure to thrive in infants

Symptoms for adults are usually more varied:
unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
bone or joint pain
bone loss or osteoporosis
tingling/numbness in hands or feet
missed menstrual periods
infertility or recurrent miscarriage
canker sores inside of mouth
itchy skin called dermititis herpetiformis

People with celiac disease may have no symptoms but can still develop complications of the disease over time. Long-term complications include malnutrition—which can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, and miscarriage, among other problems—liver diseases, and cancers of the intestine.

Celiac disease affects people in all parts of the world. Originally thought to be a rare childhood syndrome, celiac disease is now known to be a common genetic disorder. More than 2 million people in the United States have the disease, or about 1 in 133 people. Among people who have a first-degree relative—a parent, sibling, or child—diagnosed with celiac disease, as many as 1 in 22 people may have the disease.  Celiac disease is also more common among people with other genetic disorders including Down syndrome and Turner syndrome, a condition that affects girls’ development.

Celiac disease is usually diagnosed through blood tests, biopsies of the small intestine (through endoscopy where a small tube is entered through the mouth into your stomach and a small sample is taken- don't worry you will gets lots of happy drugs and not remember anything!!), through diagnosis of dermatitis herpetiformis, and through screening for autoantibodies (which is not routinely done in the US unless you have an affected family member).

Treatment?  A gluten-free diet!!!  It is much harder than you think...there seems to be gluten in everything these days.  Here are some foods that are allowed and should be avoided:

Allowed Foods
Indian rice grass
Job’s tears
wild rice
Foods To Avoid
  • including einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut
  • wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat, hydrolyzed wheat protein
triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
Other Wheat Products
bromated flour
durum flour
enriched flour
graham flour
phosphated flour
plain flour
self-rising flour
white flour
Processed Foods that May Contain Wheat, Barley, or Rye*
bouillon cubes
brown rice syrup
chips/potato chips
cold cuts, hot dogs, salami, sausage
communion wafers
French fries
imitation fish
rice mixes
seasoned tortilla chips
self-basting turkey
soy sauce
vegetables in sauce

* Most of these foods can be found gluten-free. When in doubt, check with the food manufacturer.

If you have any of these symptoms, try avoiding these foods and see if your symptoms improve, then got talk to your HCP for a further work up.  As I stated before, many people have different reactions/responses to celiac disease, so many chronic issues that people have, that are unexplained, can be relieved with a change in diet, and removing gluten is one lifestyle change that can be made which can have great effects on your overall health.

Also, this is good info to have when having friends over for dinner with celiac disease so that everyone can enjoy the meal :)  Its always nice to serve food that doesn't make people sick or cause anxiety!!

Yours in Good Health


For more information you can check out these foundations/associations- there is a ton of research being done on celiac disease currently: 

American Celiac Disease Alliance
2504 Duxbury Place
Alexandria, VA 22308
Phone: 703–622–3331

American Dietetic Association
120 South Riverside Plaza, Suite 2000
Chicago, IL 60606–6995

Celiac Disease Foundation
13251 Ventura Boulevard, #1
Studio City, CA 91604
Phone: 818–990–2354
Fax: 818–990–2379

Celiac Sprue Association/USA Inc.
P.O. Box 31700
Omaha, NE 68131–0700
Phone: 1–877–CSA–4CSA (272–4272)
Fax: 402–643–4108

Children’s Digestive Health and Nutrition Foundation
P.O. Box 6
Flourtown, PA 19031
Phone: 215–233–0808
Fax: 215–233–3918

Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
31214 124th Avenue SE
Auburn, WA 98092–3667
Phone: 253–833–6655
Fax: 253–833–6675

National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
224 South Maple Street
Ambler, PA 19002–0544
Phone: 215–325–1306

North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
P.O. Box 6
Flourtown, PA 19031
Phone: 215–233–0808
Fax: 215–233–3918

The Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign

To meet the need for comprehensive and current information about celiac disease, the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC), a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), launched the Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign. The Awareness Campaign is the result of the combined ideas and efforts of the professional and voluntary organizations that focus on celiac disease, along with the NIDDK, the National Institutes of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Visit to learn more about the Awareness Campaign.


At May 14, 2010 at 9:47 AM , Anonymous Deena said...

You'd also be surprised as to how much gluten free products there are out there! Gluten free beer has entered the beer and liquor industry and personally, as a Celiac, it is delicious! Certain ballparks and stadiums (Philadelphia, Denver)cater to the gluten free by offering GF beer and other snacks. There is a ton of info and a ton of REALLY good gluten free food now so if you do happen to have celiac disease, you can still enjoy pizza, beer and even donuts like the rest of the world! (gluten free that is!)
Thanks B for spreading the word!

At May 14, 2010 at 12:35 PM , Blogger Nurse Bridgid said...

Thanks Deena....and Job's tears is a type of grain but I grabbed this from wikipedia;
" Job's Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi), Coixseed, adlay, or adlai, is a tall grain-bearing tropical plant of the family Poaceae (grass family) native to East Asia and peninsular Malaysia but elsewhere cultivated in gardens as an annual. It has been naturalized in the southern United States and the New World tropics. In its native environment it is grown in higher areas where rice and corn do not grow well. Job's Tears is also commonly, but misleadingly sold as Chinese pearl barley in Asian supermarkets, despite the fact that C. lacryma-jobi are not of the same genus as barley (Hordeum vulgare).
Two varieties of the species are grown. Coix lacryma-jobi var. lacryma-jobi has hard shelled pseudocarps which are very hard, pearly white, oval structures used as beads for making rosaries, necklaces, and other objects. Coix lacryma-jobi var. ma-yuen is harvested as a cereal crop and is used medicinally in parts of Asia." FYI!!


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