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    Scott Adams

    Celiac Disease Treatment

    Scott Adams
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    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 02/08/2007 - There is presently no cure for celiac disease. Celiac patients can vary greatly in their tolerance to gluten. Some patients may not notice any symptoms when they ingest tiny amounts of gluten, for example if something they ingest has been cross-contaminated, while others suffer pronounced symptoms after ingesting even the slightest amount of gluten.

    Avoiding gluten is crucial

    A life-long diet free of gluten is the standard treatment for celiac disease. To manage the disease and prevent complications, its essential to avoid all foods that contain gluten. That means it is crucial to:

    • Avoid all foods made with wheat, rye, or barley. Including types of wheat like durum, farina, graham flour, and semolina. Also, bulgur, kamut, kasha, matzo meal, spelt and triticale. Examples of products that commonly contain these include breads, breading, batter, cereals, cooking and baking mixes, pasta, crackers, cookies, cakes, pies and gravies, among others.
    • Avoid oats, at least during initial treatment stages, as the effects of oats on celiac patients are not fully understood, and contamination with wheat in processing is common. So, its best to eliminate oats at least until symptoms subside and their reintroduction into the diet can be fairly monitored and evaluated.
    • Avoid processed foods that may contain hidden gluten. Wheat is commonly used in many processed foods that one might never suspect. A few examples include:
      • candy bars
      • canned soup
      • canned meat
      • energy bars
      • ketchup
      • ice cream
      • instant coffee
      • lunch meat
      • mustard
      • pastas
      • processed meat
      • sausages
    • Avoid capsules and tablets that contain wheat starch, which is a common used binding agent in their production. Gluten is also commonly found in many vitamins and cosmetics, such as lipstick.
    • Avoid beer (wine, brandy, whiskey and other non-wheat or barley alcohols are okay).
    • Eat a diet rich in fish, fresh meats, rice, corn, soybean, potato, poultry, fruits and vegetables.
    • Avoid milk and other dairy products, as it is common for patients with untreated celiac disease to be lactose intolerant. Successful treatment often means dairy products can be slowly reintroduced into the diet over time.
    • Identify gluten-free foods. Because a gluten-free diet needs to be strictly followed, and because food ingredients may vary from place to place and even over time for a given product, it is important to always read the label. Consider purchasing commercial listings of gluten-free foods and products. For specific advice on adopting, shaping and maintaining the gluten-free diet that is right for you, you may wish to consult a registered dietitian who is experienced in teaching the gluten-free diet.
    • Always read labels, as ingredients often change over time and products that that were once gluten-free may be reformulated and now include gluten in some form. Products that are gluten-free in one country are sometimes not gluten-free in another.



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    Most patients who remove gluten from their diets find that their symptoms improve as inflammation of the small intestine begins to subside, usually within several weeks. Many patients who adopt a gluten-free diet report an improvement within 48 hours.

    Results of a gluten-free diet can be especially dramatic in children with celiac disease. Not only does their diarrhea and abdominal distress usually subside but, frequently, their behavior and growth rate are often markedly improved.

    A reappearance of intestinal villi nearly always follows an improvement in symptoms.

    In younger people, the villi may complete healing and regrowth in several months, while in older people, the process may take as long as two to three years.

    In cases where nutritional deficiencies are severe, celiac patients may require vitamin and mineral supplements to help bring about a healthier vitamin profile: folic acid and B12 for patients with anemia due to folate or B12 deficiency; vitamin K for patients with an abnormal ProTime; calcium and vitamin D supplements for patients with low blood calcium levels or with osteoporosis. For all such cases, individuals should consult their health professional.

    Skin lesions common in patients with dermatitis herpetiformis often improve with adherence to a gluten-free diet.

    For patients with celiac disease, the importance of maintaining a life-long diet free of gluten can hardly be over-stressed. Research indicates that only half of those patients who have had celiac disease for at least 20 years were following a strict gluten-free diet. Up to 30% of those patients showed evidence of bone loss and iron deficiency. These are but a few of the long-term consequences for celiac patients failing to follow a gluten-free diet.

    health writer who lives in San Francisco and is a frequent author of articles for Celiac.com.

     

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    It's very interesting. I would like to forward this text to a friend in Europe but she can't understand neither English or French language.

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    I found this very informative and found all the information I was looking for as I have had symptoms of celiac deficiency and did not know how to proceed I will now have a test to find out if I have this. Excellent website.

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    It's very interesting. I would like to forward this text to a friend in Europe but she can't understand neither English or French language.

    Haha, thats funny. I have the same problem. I have a friend in America who can speak neither English nor redneck.

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    Thank you for the great article, Scott!

    It is very important to treat celiac disease because if left untreated, celiac disease can lead to some serious problems. In children especially the disease can lead to problems with bone development and can be very damaging. Here are some other possible complications of celiac disease:

     

    Weight loss and, in children, stunted growth

    Osteoporosis

    Iron deficiency anaemia

    Loss of tooth enamel

    Damage to the intestines

    Rectal prolapse

    Infertility

    Anxiety and depression

    Lymphoma

    Good Luck to Everyone!

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  • About Me

    Scott Adams was diagnosed with celiac disease in 1994, and, due to the nearly total lack of information available at that time, was forced to become an expert on the disease in order to recover. In 1995 he launched the site that later became Celiac.com to help as many people as possible with celiac disease get diagnosed so they can begin to live happy, healthy gluten-free lives.  He is co-author of the book Cereal Killers, and founder and publisher of the (formerly paper) newsletter Journal of Gluten Sensitivity. In 1998 he founded The Gluten-Free Mall which he sold in 2014. Celiac.com does not sell any products, and is 100% advertiser supported.


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