Gluten-free is everywhere right now. Gluten-free cereal, gluten-free bread, gluten-free cupcakes! Unfortunately, as Jimmy Kimmel has pointed out on his late night show, most people don’t know what gluten is and why or if it’s bad for them.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye products. Normally, the body breaks down gluten just as it would any other protein, but in some people, this isn’t the case. For people with Celiac Disease, gluten can cause a variety of symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, vitamin deficiency, and even severe damage to the digestional tract.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack the small intestine if gluten is ingested. Many attacks can lead to damage of the villi, small finger-like projections that line the small intestine and promote nutrient absorption. When the villi are damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly.
The only treatment currently available for people with celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. Most people with celiac disease tend to see improvements within a few weeks after changing their eating habits, but healing of the intestinal wall can take years.
Celiac disease is hereditary which means it runs in families. Those most likely to be affected are people with a first-degree relative who also has celiac disease such as a parent, child, or sibling. If you have a close relative with celiac disease, you have a 1 in 10 risk of developing it yourself.
The most common symptoms of celiac disease include:
- Pain in the abdomen and joints
- Fat in stool
- Bone loss
- Delayed puberty
- Slow growth
- Lactose intolerance
- Skin rash
- Weight loss
At Elite Care we can screen for and manage ongoing long term illnesses like Celiac Disease as well as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure.If you have concerns about Celiac Disease our about your diet, call us at (662) 348-3342 to schedule an appointment with our nurse practitioners.