Thursday, October 10, 2013

What is Celiac Disease Again?


Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease.  Some people have an allergy to gluten (or maybe just to wheat) and still others have different levels of intolerance to gluten. The great thing about having any of these issues is that by avoiding gluten you can treat the major problem.  The bad thing is that gluten is in so many foods and products that it takes a lot of work and diligence to stick to a truly gluten free diet.

I myself am pretty sure that I have Celiac Disease- I was diagnosed positive by an antibodies blood test, but my endoscopy biopsy results came back negative for the disease. Despite the negative test results, I cut out gluten anyway and started feeling better immediately. I could feel my body starting to heal and I started following the SCD and GAPS Diets to continue that healing process. 

Over the years I've really enjoyed creating recipes and baking for this blog. Eating gluten, grain and sugar free has helped me so much to eat nutriously, know where my food comes from and find a way to still enjoy food. Now my goal is to focus on my health once again and fine tune the foods that are best for me, control some of my over-indulgent eating habits (two pieces of pie a day people!) and make exercise a priority- I think this may be my biggest obstacle. 

Now that I'm going through a little re-start, I think it's good to take another look at the basics.

So let's see,
What is Celiac Disease Again? 

"Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.
If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine's lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption).
The intestinal damage can cause weight loss, bloating and sometimes diarrhea. Eventually, your brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs can be deprived of vital nourishment.
In children, malabsorption can affect growth and development. The intestinal irritation can cause stomach pain, especially after eating.
There's no cure for celiac disease — but following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing."

"Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that affects at least 1 in 133  Americans (about 2.18 Million). Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent  symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms. The disease mostly affects people of European (especially Northern European) descent, but recent studies show that it also affects Hispanic, Black and Asian populations as well. Those affected suffer damage to the villi (shortening and villous flattening) in the lamina propria and crypt regions of their intestines when they eat specific food-grain antigens (toxic amino acid sequences) that are found in wheat, rye, and barley. Oats  have traditionally been considered to be toxic to celiacs, but recent scientific studies have shown otherwise. This research is ongoing, however, and it may be too early to draw solid conclusions.

If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, studies have shown that he or she will increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by a factor of 40 to 100 times that of the normal population. Further, gastrointestinal carcinoma or lymphoma  develops in up to 15 percent of patients with untreated or refractory celiac disease."
From Mayo Clinic and Celiac.com, A Summary of Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance

Some other helpful sites:
This graphic of Celiac symptoms is really helpful
Gluten Free Celebrities on Glutendude.com
American Celiac Disease Alliance
Living Without Gluten Free Magazine

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