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Celiac Disease Symptoms – Doctors need to be Aware of the Condition and Prescribe Drug Tests for it

February 4th 2006

Celiac Disease Symptoms – Doctors need to be Aware of the Condition and Prescribe Drug Tests for it

Digestive Tract

Celiac Disease is a relatively common disease that many people don’t even know they have.  The disease usually affects Caucasians.  In Ireland, about 1 in 150 people have Celiac disease.  In the US the number is 1 in 250 people.  Women are more susceptible to it.   

The symptoms include nonspecific abdominal pain, gas, bloating, depression, recurrent mouth sores, or may cause women to be infertile.  There are a lot of manifestations and doctors should become more aware of the symptoms.

Patients can develop diarrhea and lose weight. ABC News recently ran a story on the subject.  Katie Barrett, a 32 year old woman who has suffered with the disease since she was 9 years old, said "It wasn't just my stomach that was bloated, [it was] my whole entire body." She said she felt like the “Pillsbury dough boy”.      

 

According to the ABC story one bite of pizza or a teaspoon of flour can “ignite a response from the immune system”.  This can also cause damage to the small intestine and ultimately other organs. 

A simple blood test can determine if you have Celiac Disease.  If you find out you have Celiac, you should avoid all products containing gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye products.  The diet is achievable, but it will require a drastic diet change.

Within 10 days after Barrett started the gluten-free diet she felt better.  The diarrhea and the bloating disappeared.  It required Barrett to find out which products contain gluten.

There is another treatment. According to a recent article in the Indianapolis Star, immuno-suppressive drugs or steroids can be used to treat Celiac.  Treatment is important because the disease can cause lymphoma of the gastrointestinal tract. 

 

Symptoms can hit at any age.  The Celiac disease can become symptomatic after a case of viral gastroenteritis.  There may be other triggers that bring on the symptoms.  Some lucky individuals may have the genetic predisposition to Celiac disease and never develop symptoms. 

We received this comment on the article and I would like to share it here:

Your recent article about celiac disease is full of misinformation. celiac can NOT be "treated" with steroids or any other medicine. the only way to live  a healthy life with celiac is to completely eliminate gluten from the patient's diet. also, even if a person does not develop the outward symptoms of celiac (bloating, losing weight, cramping, gas, etc.) the damage to the intestines is taking place and must be prevented by diet.

 
There are studies taking place right now in the development of a "gluten-blocking" medication, but that will not be ready in the near future.  Shelly Pickren

We also got this comment on the article:

Your celiac article cites an incorrect number of Americans with celiac disease - it is not 1/250, it is in between 1/90 and 1/100, and most often cited as 1/133.  See www.celiac.com for more accurate information.  Allison Reid
 
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