Very few people have heard of celiac disease. I did not know about it, or even heard of it, until I met a friend of mine who told me about her diet because she has celiac disease. She told me she had suffered several years before she found out what was the cause of her problem.
My friend was in agony for many years because she had chronic diarrhea, vomiting, had a lot of gas, and had constant abdominal pain. When she went to her physician, after he examined her, he told her that there was nothing wrong with her. When she continued to have symptoms and suffered so much, she finally visited a gastroenterologist. He gave her a thorough examination of the intestines and reported that she had celiac disease.
As stated previously, many people have not heard of this disease, and doctors frequently misdiagnose it because its symptoms can resemble those of other conditions.
According to the pamphlet, “Do I have Celiac?” people who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten proteins, which are found in any food that contain wheat, rye, or barley. This intolerance for gluten proteins causes small intestine damage. It can also lead to intestinal cancers.
When my friend and I decided to go out to dinner one evening, she had to make calls to the various restaurants to ask them if they had a special gluten free menu. To my surprise, there were some restaurants that did have a special menu for people who have celiac disease.
Like some diseases that are temporary, celiac disease is permanent. People who are aware that they have it, find it necessary to keep up with their special diet for the rest of their lives. The only treatment required is a lifelong gluten-free diet. Many sufferers are told to keep away from foods containing oats as well as wheat, rye, and barley.
The good news is that there are specially manufactured substitute foods, including gluten-free bread, flour, and pasta which are available in some stores. There is no restriction on meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, vegetables, rice, and corn. As long as these people keep away from gluten, they can remain free of the celiac disease.
A diagnosis for celiac disease is done by getting a small sample of tissue from the lining of the upper small intestine. Two or three biopsies are performed. One is taken after the patient had been eating foods containing gluten; another biopsy is performed when the patient has been on a gluten-free diet. There may be a third test where the patient once again is eating foods that contain gluten. When the test shows there is a change in the intestinal lining, when a person has consumed gluten, then it is a definite indication that this person has celiac disease. Blood, urine, and feces tests are also given.
Source: The American Medical Association Encyclopedia of Medicine