Celiac disease is a condition in which gluten cannot be digested, leading to problems such as gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Sufferers must avoid gluten entirely in order to prevent further health complications.
What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease is a condition in which the immune system reacts to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system damages the villi – tiny fingerlike projections that line the small intestine – which makes it hard for the body to absorb nutrients from food.
What are the symptoms of celiac disease?
Symptoms of celiac disease can vary from person to person and range from mild to severe. Some people with celiac disease may have no symptoms at all. Common symptoms include:
- abdominal pain and bloating
- diarrhea or constipation
- weight loss or gain
What causes celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the small intestine. In celiac disease, the body mistakenly attacks the lining of the small intestine when gluten is eaten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When celiac disease is active, the small intestine cannot absorb nutrients from food properly. This can lead to problems such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, and weight loss.
No one knows for sure what causes celiac disease. However, experts believe that it may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. If you have a family member with celiac disease, you are at a higher risk of developing it yourself. Exposure to gluten early in life may also increase your risk.
There is no cure for celiac disease, but there are treatments available to help manage the condition. The best way to prevent complications is to follow a gluten-free diet. This means avoiding all foods that contain wheat, barley, or rye. For some people, this may also mean avoiding processed foods and medications that contain gluten.
How is celiac disease diagnosed?
Celiac disease can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms vary so much from person to person. If you think you might have celiac disease, see your doctor. He or she may recommend a blood test to look for antibodies that are associated with celiac disease. Your doctor may also recommend a biopsy of your small intestine. This procedure is usually done through an endoscope, a long, thin tube that is inserted through the mouth and into the small intestine.
If you have celiac disease, how can you manage it?
The only way to manage celiac disease is to follow a strict gluten-free diet. This means avoiding all foods that contain wheat, barley, and rye. Some people with celiac disease may also need to avoid oats. There are many delicious and nutritious gluten-free foods available, so following a gluten-free diet does not have to be difficult. With a little planning and effort, you can eat a healthy and balanced diet that meets all of your nutritional needs.
If you think you may have celiac disease, it is important to see a doctor so that you can be properly diagnosed. Celiac disease is a serious condition left untreated, and it can lead to other health problems such as malnutrition, osteoporosis, and even some cancers. With a gluten-free diet, however, people with celiac disease can live healthy and happy lives.
Can you cure celiac disease?
There is no cure for celiac disease. The only treatment is to avoid eating foods that contain gluten. This can be difficult because gluten is found in many common foods, such as bread and pasta. Some people with celiac disease can eat small amounts of gluten without having symptoms. Others have such severe symptoms that they must avoid even trace amounts of gluten.
What food replacements can you make?
If you have celiac disease or are following a gluten-free diet, there are many delicious and nutritious foods that you can eat. Here are some gluten-free food replacements for common foods that contain gluten:
– Rice instead of wheat
– Corn instead of wheat
– Potato flour instead of wheat flour
– Quinoa instead of couscous
– Buckwheat instead of oats (check the label to make sure it is pure buckwheat, as some products may be contaminated with wheat)
Living with celiac disease can be challenging, but with a little effort, you can still enjoy all your favorite foods. There are many delicious and nutritious gluten-free options available, so you don’t have to feel deprived. With a little planning and effort, you can follow a healthy and balanced gluten-free diet that meets all of your nutritional needs.