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Fast Facts about Celiac Disease
We’ve pulled together a quick FAQ about Celiac Disease with links to sites where you can get more information. Celiac Disease is a serious autoimmune condition that can have serious, life-threatening consequences if it goes undiagnosed and untreated. If you suspect that you may have Celiac Disease, please see your doctor and request testing.
1 in every 100 people has Celiac Disease. That’s an estimated 300 million Americans, 80% of which are not diagnosed! More children have Celiac Disease than other digestive autoimmune disorders, including Crohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and Cystic Fibrosis combined. It can take 6-10 years for a patient to receive an accurate diagnosis. The longer you go without a diagnosis, the more likely you will suffer from intestinal cancers, type 1 diabetes, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, multiple sclerosis, and many other problems.
What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease?
There are more than 300 symptoms. People with symptoms most often experience diarrhea, bloating, gas, fatigue, low blood count. Surprisingly, about 20% of people show no external symptoms – a condition called Silent Celiac. However, lack of symptoms does not mean your body isn’t suffering.
How can I be diagnosed with Celiac Disease?
A doctor can only diagnose celiac Disease through a blood test and endoscopy. The blood test will show antibodies, and the endoscopy will show damage to the small intestine.
Is there a “safe” gluten level?
Yes and No. Gluten-free foods are entirely without gluten-containing grains or have ingredients made from the grains but with the gluten processed out. For a food to be called gluten-free, the FDA has determined that it cannot have more than 20 parts per million (or ppm). Unfortunately, a gluten-free diet is the only way to reduce inflammation, encourage healing, and you must be on this diet for life. This means sticking to foods that are labeled gluten-free or are naturally gluten-free.
Gluten is a naturally occurring protein in wheat, barley, and rye grains naturally occurring in wheat, barley, and rye flours and products; thus, those with Celiac disease should avoid these foods.
Can you suddenly develop Celiac Disease?
You can develop Celiac Disease at any age and are more likely to develop it if an immediate family member has it. In fact, parents, siblings, and children have a 4-15% chance of developing Celiac Disease.
What triggers or causes Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition triggered when you eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. When you eat these foods, it causes the body to have an allergic reaction that triggers a large immune response.
What happens if I have Celiac and eat gluten?
You may suffer from symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and gas that make you very uncomfortable. Over time, the inflammation caused by the body’s immune response to gluten damages the small intestine’s lining, preventing you from properly absorbing nutrients from your food. This consequently leads to osteoporosis, anemia, and other health problems.
How long does it take to heal from Celiac?
Depending on the level of damage in your intestines, healing can take anywhere from 3 months to 2 years. As a result, healing depends on how long you’ve gone without a diagnosis and how recently you’ve eaten gluten.
No, people with Celiac disease should not have ‘cheat’ days. As shown above, eating gluten on a ‘cheat’ day will cause damage to your small intestine that can take months to repair. A Celiac ‘diet’ is not a diet for weight loss but a necessary lifestyle change to keep your body healthy.
Can Celiac Disease make you fat?
While most people with Celiac Disease tend to lose weight, roughly one-third may actually be overweight! Some studies have reported even higher numbers! In short, yes. First, malabsorption causes hunger, and in turn, we eat more, so subsequently, Celiac Disease can cause weight gain though it more commonly causes weight loss.
For more information and facts about Celiac Disease, check out the links below: