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  • Jefferson Adams
    Jefferson Adams

    Five Important Things You May Not Know About Celiac Disease

    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

    Celiac.com 05/15/2015 - People with celiac disease need to maintain constant vigilance against gluten-exposure. Even those celiacs who avoid gluten need to be on guard against nutritional deficiencies, and to check with their doctor when taking certain drugs.

    Photo: CC--locomininosHere are five important things to remember about celiac disease:

    1. Tiny Amounts of Gluten Trigger Big Reactions
      For people with celiac disease, exposure to as little as 30 to 50 mg of gluten (about 1/50th the size of a slice of bread) on any given day can trigger damage to the mucosal lining of the small intestine.
    2. Nutritional Deficiencies are Common
      Many people with celiac disease, even those who avoid gluten, suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Doctors recommend that people with celiac disease be monitored regularly for nutritional deficiencies, especially vitamins A, D, E, and B12, carotene, copper, iron, folic acid, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. Doctors recommend vitamin and mineral supplementation, as needed.
    3. Bone Loss and Weakness are Common
      People with celiac disease should receive regular screening for osteopenia or osteoporosis. If needed, they should receive calcium supplements to ensure that they are getting the recommended dietary allowance for calcium.
    4. Nutritional and Drug Malabsorption are Common
      Gluten reactions cause inflammation in the small-intestine and, over time, damage that decreases absorption of common dietary nutrients, and likely promotes malabsorption of oral drugs or medicines, as well. That’s why it’s important for people with celiac disease to be monitored for proper drug and nutritional levels, and to receive supplements as needed.
    5. Celiac Disease Can Impair the Effectiveness of Certain Drugs
      Based on their molecular properties, drugs currently under investigation for their absorption characteristics in gluten sensitivity include acetaminophen, aspirin, indomethacin, levothyroxine, prednisolone, propranolol, and certain antibiotics. Please check with your doctor before taking any of these drugs.

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    Along with bone loss and weakness comes frequent fractures. My daughter who was diagnosed @ 7 years old (but had tummy problems since introducing solids as a baby). Her bones are unusually weak and has had 6 fractures already - mostly to the smaller/accessory bones. Her long bones seem to have taken all the calcium & D. Her most recent fracture was the scaphoid in her wrist - her doctor can't remember anytime in his career where a child has a fractured scaphoid.. She is on high-dose supplement for severe vitamin D deficiency.

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    Along with bone loss and weakness comes frequent fractures. My daughter who was diagnosed @ 7 years old (but had tummy problems since introducing solids as a baby). Her bones are unusually weak and has had 6 fractures already - mostly to the smaller/accessory bones. Her long bones seem to have taken all the calcium & D. Her most recent fracture was the scaphoid in her wrist - her doctor can't remember anytime in his career where a child has a fractured scaphoid.. She is on high-dose supplement for severe vitamin D deficiency.

    I am 70 years old and was diagnosed with celiac at 62. I feel like I have had it since I was about 12 years old. I had no symptoms, seemed to thrive on wheat, and had what seemed to be a perfectly function digestive system. My rheumatologist diagnosed it on a hunch. I was being treated for fibromyalgia and the more meds they gave me the worse my pain got. He ran some blood tests and I was off the charts in the celiac tests and had a severe Vitamin D deficiency. Going gluten free has made the fibromyalgia go away. What I have is celiac disease, Hasimotos Thyroiditis, osteo arthritis, and seasonal allergies and allergies to cats, some trees and some medicines. I do best on a simple diet, but still have many very bad mornings and usually can't go anywhere until about 10 or 11am. It has improved however because early after diagnosis, I had the same problems after dinner most nights. I don't go to many restaurants because of cross contamination.

    I would advise a simple diet of meat, vegetables, fruit, nuts if tolerated, lactose free milk or Almond/Coconut milk and plenty of water. During the fall apples are fresh and I like to have a large apple with peanut-coconut spread for lunch. I don't get sick if I eat an apple every day. Now I'm trying broccoli with a little cheese. Sometimes I make smoothies and use frozen and fresh fruit I like and a dab of raw honey if it needs more sweetness and I make my own plain yogurt and add a cup to it. It's refreshing, healthy and seems like a milkshake without the bad. Blend with a little ice and she will love it.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,000 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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