Guide to natural prevention/
Nowadays, celiac disease is an autoimmune disease like
diabetes and multiple sclerosis, not a food allergy to wheat as
When people who are genetically skewed toward
the disease eat wheat, they, first of all, have a reaction [to
wheat] in the intestine. The reaction makes the intestine leakier so
that more wheat comes into the body. Then the immune cells of the
intestine will mount an inflammatory response that ultimately will
damage the liner cells [of the intestine] that are charged with
absorbing nutrition. Ultimately, it can lead to further damage
throughout the body. continued below,
Who is susceptible
to this disease?
We thought it was extremely rare. Now we
know it is the most frequent human gene disorder.
One out of 133
people in the United States is affected with celiac disease. Celiac
disease occurs in 5 [percent] to 15 percent of the offspring and
siblings of a person with celiac disease. ... It is strongly
suggested that family members be tested, even if they are
asymptomatic. A simple test is to go on a gluten free diet. If you
get better you have Celiacs.
What causes it?
Like all autoimmune diseases, its recipe
is the genes you are born with. We know some of the genes involved.
And there is a trigger - something in the environment that is
mismanaged by the people who have this disease. But this means that
this is the only autoimmune disease that we know the trigger for:
the protein - gluten - found in wheat, barley and rye.
What are its symptoms?
When the celiac disease was first
described, we were under the impression that this was a disease
affecting only kids and would only present GI [gastrointestinal]
symptoms - mainly diarrhea, weight loss and stunted growth.
Over time, we have come to appreciate the complexity of the clinical
symptoms, which can affect any system or organ of the body.
So not only can it affect people of any age, but it can include the
GI symptoms - vomiting, nausea, irritable bowel symptoms,
constipation instead of diarrhea - and many others. It may have no
GI symptoms. Your hair may fall, hearing issues, weak eyesight,
breathing issues or anything/
How is it diagnosed?
The other strength of the condition [in addition to knowing what
triggers this disease] is that we have a very, very good screening
test. There is a blood test for specific antibodies unique to celiac
disease and if you test positive for these, you have a 95 percent
chance of having celiac disease.
How is it treated?
Well, the luxury of celiac disease, compared to all other autoimmune
diseases, is that we know the trigger. Knowing the trigger - gluten
- is the cornerstone of how you treat the disease. We can't remove
the genes - we aren't quite there yet - but we can completely avoid
for life products that contain gluten. Now that is easy to say but
very, very complicated to do.
Once gluten has been removed
from the diet, are the symptoms alleviated?
In the vast majority of cases, they will completely go away: Anemia
will be resolved and with it, fatigue, and so on.
issue is different if you have had the symptoms for so long that
they cannot be fixed anymore. For example, if you are diagnosed ...
by around age 30, then osteoporosis can be fixed. But after that, it
cannot be changed. Or if you are diagnosed before puberty, then you
can catch up in your growth, but after that you really can't do
What do you tell your patients who are diagnosed
with celiac disease?
The vast majority who are diagnosed
with this disease react with anger, dismay and frustration.
Especially teenagers, because if you think [about] what this
implies, you understand their frustration: From this moment on, you
can't eat pasta, pizza, bagels, cookies, cakes, beer.
means your lifestyle changes. When you travel, socialize, go to
college, it affects your lifestyle and will limit it in certain
I tell them, "I do understand your feelings, but let's
say I have the power to trade your celiac disease for any other
autoimmune disease, which you would rather have? Cancer, diabetes,
Crohn's, cystic fibrosis?" They say, "Well, I will keep the celiac
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