Living with celiac disease can be a challenge. For starters, it's a lifelong condition that requires you to give up foods containing gluten, and because gluten is found in so many common foods, it can be difficult to follow a gluten-free diet. But there are ways to make it work. Here are some tips for living with celiac disease.
What Is Celiac Disease And What Are The Symptoms?
Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that affects the small intestine. When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten- a protein found in wheat, barley and rye- their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Symptoms can include diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, bloating and gas, weight loss and malnutrition. Celiac disease is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide.
While there is no cure for celiac disease, there are treatments available that can help lessen the symptoms. It is important for people with celiac disease to avoid consuming gluten entirely. This can be difficult, as gluten is found in many common foods. However, with careful planning and by working with a doctor or registered dietitian, it is possible to maintain a healthy diet while avoiding gluten.
What If Celiac Disease Is Left Untreated?
If celiac disease is left untreated, there can be serious long-term health consequences. Damage to the small intestine can lead to deficiencies in key nutrients, such as iron, calcium and B vitamins. This can cause problems such as:
Anemia. A condition that occurs when someone does not have enough red blood cells or hemoglobin in their blood. This can cause symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath and dizziness. Anemia caused by celiac disease is a common complication of the disease. It can occur when the small intestine is damaged and unable to absorb nutrients properly. This can lead to a deficiency in iron, which is essential for the production of red blood cells.
People with celiac disease should be sure to get enough iron in their diet. There are many good sources of iron, including red meat, poultry, fish, legumes, nuts and dark leafy green vegetables. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron from food. So eating foods rich in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, can also help prevent anemia.
Osteoporosis. A condition that causes the bones to become weak and fragile. It is a common complication of celiac disease, due to a lack of calcium and vitamin D. People with celiac disease may be at increased risk for fractures.
Neurological problems. Such as seizures, neuropathy and ataxia. Neuropathy is a condition that causes numbness and tingling in the hands and feet. Ataxia is a condition that affects balance and coordination. Seizures are less common, but can occur in people with celiac disease.
Celiac disease can also lead to other autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body's immune system attacks healthy tissues. This can cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on the particular disease.
Celiac disease is a serious condition that can have many long-term consequences if it is left untreated like Lymphoma or Intestinal Cancer. Thankfully, there are treatments available that can help lessen the symptoms and allow people with celiac disease to live healthy lives.
Can A Gluten-Free Diet Help People With Celiac Disease?
A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. It is important for people with celiac disease to avoid consuming gluten entirely. This can be difficult, as gluten is found in many common foods. However, with careful planning and by working with a doctor, registered dietitian, and using online resources it is possible to maintain a healthy diet while avoiding gluten.
A gluten-free diet can help lessen the symptoms of celiac disease. It is important for people with celiac disease to make sure they are getting enough of the key nutrients their body needs, such as iron, calcium and B vitamins. There are many good sources of these nutrients available on a gluten-free diet.
Top Tips For Someone Starting Out On A Gluten-Free Diet?
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with celiac disease, it is important to start a gluten-free diet right away. Here are some top tips for getting started:
Educate yourself about gluten-free foods. There are many good sources of information available online, in books, and from registered dietitians. Learning about the foods that are safe to eat will help make the transition to a gluten-free diet easier.
Build a stockpile of gluten-free foods. Having a well-stocked pantry and refrigerator will make it easier to cook gluten-free meals at home. There are many great gluten-free products available, such as pastas, breads, cookies, and snacks.
Plan ahead when eating out. When dining out, it is important to call ahead and speak with the restaurant staff about your gluten-free requirements. This will help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable dining experience.
Be prepared for social situations. It is not uncommon for people with celiac disease to feel isolated or left out when friends and family are consuming foods that contain gluten. Planning ahead and bringing your own food to social gatherings can help you avoid feeling left out or hungry.
Stay positive. Making the switch to a gluten-free diet can be challenging, but it is important to stay positive throughout the process. Remember that you are making this change for your health and well-being, and that there are many delicious gluten-free foods available.
Carolina Digestive can Help with Celiac Disease
Our team will be happy to work with you to create a prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategy. Contact us today; we treat all gastrointestinal issues and disorders with quality, comprehensive care.