Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance
As discussed in my previous article, I cover the basics of Celiac Disease, which include the effects of Celiac Disease, symptoms and possible treatments. In this article, I will go into more detail of the life of a Celiac sufferer.
When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I was told that a major lifestyle change was in order. Fast foods were out, pizza, breads, pastas, most alcohols, especially beer, were excluded from my diet. I became a label reader. You would be surprised at what your are eating once you start reading labels. Here is a little tutorial in label reading. The list starts with the item that takes up the most weight, and continues in order of content down to the smallest part of the food.
Even family and friends have made adjustments to their meals, to accommodate my allergy, when I am invited to dinner. I am on first name basis with the health food guy at my supermarket(Claudio). I now see this as a positive thing in my life, because it has forced me to eat healthier.Diagnosing Celiac Disease:
Recognizing Celiac Disease is difficult because some of its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases. If a doctor suspects a person has Celiac Disease, he or she will probably order a blood test as a first step in diagnosing the disease. Perhaps the best way to diagnose Celiac Disease is by taking a biopsy, or a sample of tissue and sending it to a lab. This is done through a procedure called an Endoscopy. If you decide to stay awake through this procedure, like I did, you will get to see your stomach, stomach acids, and interesting things like that.Feeling tired and lethargic all the time:
Celiac's will experience fatigue, more than someone without the disease. Celiacs have a hard time digesting certain vitamins due to the resulting damage of the small intestine. When the villi are damaged, (villi are the tiny hair-like projections in the small intestine) the body is unable to absorb certain vitamins and fatigue sets in. Talk to your Doctor about a supplemental vitamin program.
Symptoms of celiac disease:
How Common Is Celiac Disease?
- Extreme fatigue
- Abdominal bloating and pain
- Chronic diarrhea
- Weight loss
- Foul-smelling stool
- low count of red blood cells
This number varies as expected but generally in the U.S. 1 out of 250 people have Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is also quite common in Italy, Ireland, Sweden and Austria.In closing and some final advice:
If you have just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and you fear that you will not be able to live on a gluten free diet, it is not as difficult as you think. Most major grocery stores have a good range of gluten free products found mostly in the Organic Food section. Sticking to the regimen below, has been a big help to me, and I think you will agree.
No fast foods. Certain fast food chains use bread crumbs in their burgers and usually, the clerk cannot tell you what is in the burger itself. Do not pick up the phone for take-out, do not drink grain based alcohols, and be careful of certain sauces and gravies. Wheat flour is used to thicken them and rarely is there a substitute available. Do not try unmarked foods to casually eat such as candy in a dish. Pack your own lunch if you have to. Even salad dressings may contain wheat or wheat products. These simple guidelines have helped me tremendously. For a complete list and diet advice talk to your doctor, and listen to what they say!What is the alternative?
You may experience Iron deficiency, Anemia, Vitamin deficiencies, and other food sensitivities. This, in a nutshell has been my experience with Celiac Disease. I might have left out some details, as I am not a doctor. However, I am a Celiac sufferer and I know what Celiac's go through. The information in this article is for information purposes only. If you are experiencing any or all of the symptoms mentioned please see your doctor. The author cannot be held responsible if you do not seek the advice from your health care professional.
By Andy Casasanta
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