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Gluten Free and Celiac Disease

“Gluten-Free” isn’t just a fad, it’s a way of life for about 1 percent of Americans with Celiac Disease.

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that damages the small intestine if a person with celiac disease eats gluten. There is no other treatment for celiac disease except the complete removal of gluten from their diet.

Diagnosing celiac disease can be difficult because some of its symptoms are similar to those of other diseases, including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulosis, intestinal infections, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression.

Recently, researchers discovered that people with celiac disease have higher than normal levels of certain antibodies in their blood. Antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to substances that the body perceives to be threatening. To diagnose celiac disease, physicians test blood to measure levels of antibodies to gluten. These antibodies are antigliadin, antiendomysium, antireticulin, and tissue transglutamase.

If the tests and symptoms suggest celiac disease, the physician may remove a tiny piece of tissue from the small intestine to check for damage to the villi. This is done in a procedure called a biopsy: the physician eases a long, thin tube called an endoscope through the mouth and stomach into the small intestine, and then takes a sample of tissue using instruments passed through the endoscope. Biopsy of the small intestine is the best way to diagnose celiac disease.

The majority of people with celiac disease dont know they have it. Left untreated, celiac disease can lead to anemia, infertility, vitamin deficiencies and neurological problems.

Foods and grains containing gluten and to avoid with celiac disease include wheat, rye, barley, couscous, malt, soups, cold cuts, mayonnaise, katchup, salad dressings, soy sauces, processed cheeses egg substitute, sausage, marinades, cereals, breaded foods and much more. More about Gluten Free Foods can be found here via the CDC.

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