Celiac disease is an allergy to gluten which is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. When gluten is present in the food a person consumes, an immune reaction occurs which results in damage to the small intestine. The more damage that is caused, the less able the intestines are to absorb nutrients and break down foods that are eaten. Symptoms include weight loss, bloating, abdominal pain, and/or diarrhea. Celiac disease not only impairs the body's ability to absorb the nutrients it needs, it can also increase the risk of lymphoma, anemia, and osteoporosis.
The mainstay of treatment for celiac disease is strict avoidance of gluten in the diet. It’s important to know the sources of gluten and to make sure they are not present in foods that are consumed. Even a tiny amount of gluten in the diet can result in symptoms and damage to the small intestine.
Get answers to your questions about celiac disease by calling Dr. Rudy Rai and Dr. Pia Prakash at the Gastro Center of Maryland.
Gluten can be found in many different grains and pre-packaged foods. Gluten can be found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. These grains can be replaced with gluten-free alternatives including rice, quinoa, millet, corn, and buckwheat. Certain beers may also contain gluten due to the type of grains used when making beer. Lagers, ales, and other dark beers contain gluten, but there are also brands of beer that are gluten free. There are certain makeup products and toiletries that also contain gluten. It’s wise to always check product labels to be sure you’re not consuming gluten if you have celiac disease.