Celiac Disease is an autoimmune and digestive disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are consumed. Gluten is a protein found in some grains. Foods containing gluten include anything made with wheat or flour. That’s a lot of the foods in a typical American diet.
The inability to process gluten can lead to the body having a hard time absorbing nutrients like fat, iron, calcium and folate.
Celiac Disease, and other autoimmune disorders, occur when the body’s normal processes turn on itself. Gluten should be absorbed by the body, but in cases of Celiac Disease, the body attacks the gluten and cannot digest it.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease include significant digestive problems, a severe skin rash, musculoskeletal problems like joint disorders, seizures, growth disorders in children and a tingling sensation in the legs caused by low calcium.
Celiac Disease can lead to osteoporosis, miscarriage or infertility, birth defects, seizures and, rarely, cancer of the intestine. Your doctor can diagnose Celiac Disease with a simple blood test, looking for the presence of antibodies.
Removing gluten from your diet usually eliminates the symptoms of Celiac Disease fairly rapidly, but you have to stay on a gluten-free diet the rest of your life. Doctors may recommend infusions of vital nutrients as well.
These days, there are a lot of gluten-free options in Brookshire’s and in restaurants. There are flours and baking mixes made out of potato, rice, corn or soy instead of wheat. Fruits and vegetables are always fine, as are most unprocessed foods. With all the options available on grocery store aisles, you’d almost never know you were eating gluten-free.