Celiac Disease is a common disorder that affects the digestive system where the internal lining of the small intestine becomes inflamed and thus unable to absorb nutrientsleading to a condition called malabsorption.
Celiac Diseasepatients usually have a genetic predisposition or family history of Celiac Disease combined with an immune reaction to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease include diarrhea (with a particularly unpleasant smell), abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, indigestion, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. Other more general symptoms include fatigue due to malnutrition, unexpected weight loss, anemia, osteoporosis, joint pain, neurological symptoms, and skin rashes.
What causes Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease, where the body’s immune systemmistakenly considers gluten as a threat to the body and attacks it.This eventually damages the internal lining of the small intestine thus limiting its ability to absorb nutrients found in food. It is important to note that Celiac Disease is not equivalent to gluten allergy or gluten intolerance but is an autoimmune disease caused by genetic and environmental factors.
Who's at risk
- Celiac Disease is common and affects approximately 1% of the general population.
- Celiac Disease is more common in women.
- It usually develops during early childhood (between 8 and 12 months old) or in late adulthood (between 40 and 60 years old).
- People with type 1 diabetes, autoimmune thyroid disease, Down’s syndrome, and Turner syndrome are at an increased risk of developing Celiac Disease.
- First-degree relatives of patients suffering fromCeliac Disease.
Diagnosis of Celiac Disease is based on detailed history taking including family history, in addition to, blood tests, genetic testing, and sometimes endoscopy with a biopsy taken from the small intestine.
Foods containing gluten
Gluten is found in many foods and drinks such as:
- Cakes and pastries.
- Breakfast cereals.
- Most types of bread.
- Biscuits and crackers.
- Some ready-made meals.
- Gray and sauces.
- Beer (as most are made from barley).
Hidden sources of gluten
Gluten is clearly present in the foods mentioned above. However, it is important to know that gluten may be hidden in some other foods, medications and non-food products such as:
- Food preservatives.
- Some over-the-counter drugs.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements.
- Toothpaste and mouthwash.
- Glue on envelopes and stamps.
A person with Celiac Disease should make it a habit to read all labels carefully as even a small amount of gluten might trigger an attack.
What to eat safely?
There are plenty of safe, gluten-free foods a person with Celiac Disease could eat such as:
- Fruits and vegetables.
- Lentils and potatoes.
- Pure corn tortillas.
- Rice and wild rice.
- Dairy products such as cheese, butter and milk.
- Fresh meat, fish, and poultry provided they are not breaded, battered or marinated.
There is no definite cure for Celiac Disease. However, a gluten-free diet usually controls symptoms, helps promote healing of the intestines, and avoids long-term complications of the disease. The increased availability of gluten-free options nowadays has helped many patients with Celiac Disease to achieve a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Intravenous (IV) hydration is evolving as a viable treatment option for patients with Celiac Disease. IV hydration administered at Vida-Flo ensures adequate hydration at times when patients can keep down fluids due to diarrhea and vomiting. It also contains nutrients and vitamins that are provided in large doses and since they are administered intravenously, this ensures100% absorption which compensates for the intestine’s inability to properly absorb them.Additionally, specially formulated fluids for Celiac Diseasemay contain Zofran, a safe and effective medication to treat nausea and vomiting associated with the disease.