Celiac Disease: Know the Symptoms of this Gluten Intolerant Illness - PIH Health

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Published on May 11, 2015

Celiac Disease: Know the Symptoms of this Gluten Intolerant Illness

Roll of bread with caution tape

Roll of bread with caution tapeCeliac disease is a digestive disorder that occurs in reaction to gluten, a protein that is found in rye, barley, wheat and hundreds of foods made with these grains. Many people refer to this as gluten intolerance. More than two million people have this disease, or about one in 100 people according the Celiac Disease Foundation1.

Celiac disease causes the body’s immune system to react to the gluten you eat and creates damage to the small intestine that affects the villi, the small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine that promote nutrient absorption2. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed into the body correctly. Celiac disease cannot be prevented.

Symptoms of celiac disease vary from mild to severe. Symptoms may include:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss
  • Pain in joints
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Iron deficiency (most common in adults)
  • Malnourishment (most common in children)

Often times, symptoms of celiac disease are confused with other disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance.

It is recommended that people living with celiac disease eat a strict gluten-free diet. Currently, this is the only way to manage celiac disease. A gluten-free diet excludes the protein gluten which is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. Many food items are now available as gluten-free and many restaurants are even offering gluten-free selections for their customers.

There are many food choices that are healthy and gluten-free such as:

  • Beans
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh meats
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Most dairy

Renee Palta DO with PIH Health Physicians Digestive Health suggests talking to your family physician if you think you have symptoms. “Celiac disease is a very manageable disease if you eliminate gluten in your dietary intake,” said Palta.

1. http://celiac.org/celiac-disease/what-is-celiac-disease/


The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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