Could You Be Suffering From Celiac Disease?
Last weekend I took a trip to the East Village to check out a new gluten-free bakery called Jennifer's Way
. This totally adorable bakery was opened by actress Jennifer Esposito, known for her roles in Spin City, Crash, and Summer of Sam, and Blue Bloods
. I'm a huge Blue Bloods
fan and always wondered why she was written off the show. Now I know - she was diagnosed with a particularly debilitating case of Celiac disease in 2009 and needed time off to take care of herself and get better. That's exactly what she did - and more - she opened a 100% gluten-free bakery. The idea grew naturally as she spent endless hours in her kitchen baking gluten-free goods she could enjoy - from bagels and breads to cookies, cupcakes, and soft pretzels. Her baked goods are ridiculously yummy - so much better than store bought. If you eat a gluten-free diet, you've got to check out this bakery. You won't be disappointed.
Did you know that 3 million people
in the United States have celiac disease - that's 1 in 133 people; and only 10%
of them have been diagnosed? If you suffer from digestive problems or if you feel fatigued, itchy, achy, anxious, or depressed, you could have Celiac Disease. Read on for more information.
Celiac disease is the world's most common inherited autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive process of the small intestine. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, their immune system responds by attacking the small intestine and inhibiting the absorption of important nutrients into the body.
Celiac disease affects people differently. There are over 300 hundred signs and symptoms of celiac disease, many of them subtle and seemingly unrelated. Yet many people with celiac disease have no symptoms at all. In those cases, the undamaged part of their small intestine is able to absorb enough nutrients to prevent symptoms. However, people without symptoms are still at risk for some of the complications of celiac disease such as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions and, in rare cases, cancer.
Symptoms may or may not occur in the digestive system. For example, one person might have diarrhea and abdominal pain, while another person has infertility or anemia. Some people develop celiac disease as children, others as adults.
Common symptoms of celiac disease may include one or more of the following:
- Frequent abdominal bloating and pain
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Weight loss
- Pale, foul-smelling stool
- Iron-deficiency anemia that does not respond to iron therapy
- Failure to thrive or short stature
- Delayed puberty
- Pain in the joints
- Tingling numbness in the legs
- Pale sores inside the mouth
- A skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH)
- Tooth discoloration or loss of enamel
- Unexplained infertility or recurrent miscarriage
- Osteopenia (mild) or osteoporosis (more serious bone density problem)
- Peripheral neuropathy
- Psychiatric disorders such as anxiety or depression
The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet-that is, to avoid all foods that contain gluten. For most people, following this diet will stop symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage and prevent further damage. The gluten-free diet is a lifetime requirement. Eating any gluten-containing food, no matter how small an amount, can damage the intestine. This is true for anyone with the disease, including people who do not have noticeable symptoms.
Managing celiac disease is not just about eliminating gluten from the diet. It also involves making sure adequate vitamins and nutrients are consumed - particularly iron, calcium, fiber and the B-vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate-and watching weight gain. Weight gain can be a side effect for people with celiac disease once they start following a gluten-free diet. This is because the digestive tract begins to heal and absorb more nutrients and calories from food.
Working with a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in digestive disorders can be extremely helpful. When I work with someone who has been diagnosed with celiac disease, I focus on helping them understand which foods are safe to eat and which to avoid. I assist with meal planning for eating at home and for eating out. I work with my clients to create a plan that fits within their lifestyle to help them achieve a healthy weight and ensure they get all the nutrients they need for optimal health.Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS RD, is a food and nutrition expert specializing in weight management and digestive health. She is committed to empowering people through education, support, and inspiration to make real changes that lead to optimal health and lasting weight loss. Take her Free Self-Assessment and learn how you can lose 20 lb. - or more. Jump Start your weight loss today!http://njnutritionist.com/freeassessment
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