Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity
Breads and cereals are an important source of daily nutrition for many people around the world. But for people with celiac disease, they can also be a source of discomfort. They can also set the body up for many other problems related to an immune system out of whack.
Celiac disease is a common autoimmune disorder that affects more than 2 million Americans. It is also known a celiac sprue disease, nontropical sprue, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy. No one knows the exact cause of celiac disease, although genetics may be involved. (According to the National Institutes of Health, celiac disease affects 1 in 133 Americans. For those with a family history of the disease, the chances of developing it increase to 1 in 22.) The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates that 97% of all cases of celiac disease are undiagnosed.
Celiac disease is activated by consuming the gluten proteins found in grains such as wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. In children, the symptoms are primarily gastrointestinal. In adults, other body systems are commonly affected as well. Some of the common symptoms of celiac disease include:
• Recurring bloating, gas, or abdominal pain
• Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
• Bone or joint pain
• Weight loss
• Fatigue, weakness, or lack of energy
What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease affects the villi (tiny, finger-like projections) that line the wall of the small intestine. The small intestine wall is the place that your body absorbs nutrients from digested food. When the villi are damaged, the body is unable to absorb important nutrients needed for health, a condition called malabsorption. If allowed to progress, this can eventually lead to a wide range of health problems, including malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, loss of bone density, and damage to the nervous system, liver, and other vital organs. Without nutrients, the body can’t function right or repair damage to tissues.
What can you do?
If you suspect that you have celiac disease, it’s important to tell your health care provider. Several tests are available that can accurately diagnose this condition.
Our office has the most advanced tests available that are more sensitive and comprehensive than any others used by mainstream medicine. Ours can test for 16 components that may be involved in your allergic reactions: standard tests commonly only test for two (in U.S.) or four (in Europe) markers for wheat and gluten reactions. We also have an accurate test for cross-reactivity between antibodies for wheat and other foods, like coffee, chocolate, and avocado.
We can also test for leaky gut (intestinal barrier permeability) without the necessity for surgery. Wheat and gluten sensitivities lead to leaky gut syndrome and other more serious autoimmune disorders.
Your symptoms can be greatly alleviated by switching to a gluten-free diet. By eliminating gluten-containing foods such as wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats, you’ll give your body the chance to heal and recover.
Lifestyle changes including diet and nutrition can play an important role in the management of celiac disease. Ask your healthcare provider to help develop a therapeutic lifestyle change plan that addresses not only the symptoms, but the underlying causes of this condition. At The Redwood Clinic we have advanced solutions to diagnose and help reduce your risk factors.