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What is Celiac Disease?

People with celiac disease cannot digest a protein called gluten that's found primarily in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats. Because celiac disease destroys the lining of the small bowel, people like Luke can't absorb food or other nutrients and essential vitamins. Malnutrition and vitamin deficiency caused by celiac disease can lead to serious illness.

According to a study conducted in August 2000 by the University of Maryland Center of Celiac Research, one out of every 120 people in the United States suffers from celiac disease--many don't even know it.


Symptoms of Celiac Disease

• Abnormal cramping
• Anemia
• Bloating and gas
• Bone pain
• Chronic diarrhea
• Delayed growth
• Depression
• Early osteoporosis
• Failure to thrive in infants

 



• Fatigue
• Hyperactivity, irritability
• Joint pain
• Lactose intolerance
• Miscarriage
• Skin rash
• Tingling numbness in extremities
• Weight loss

Testing for Celiac Disease 

If you or someone you love has any of the above symptoms, make an appointment to see a gastroenterologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the stomach and intestines) or a physician familiar with celiac disease.

A simple blood test to determine if celiac antibodies are present is the first step. A biopsy of the small intestine is indicated if the blood test result is positive. Since there is no "typical" celiac case, diagnosis is sometimes difficult. Sometimes an individual can have a negative blood test and a positive biopsy. So be persistent.

Serum tests of value in suspected Celiac Disease include:
(TTG) Anti-tissue Transglutaminase antibody
(EMA) Anti-Endomysial antibody
(AGA) Anti-Gliadin antibody
(ARA) Anti-Reticulin antibody

Have your doctor perform at least three of the above tests, then refer to chart from IMMOCO DIAGNOSTICS.

EMA ARA ARG TTG Interpretation
    lgG lgA  


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CD-certain
CD-certain
CD-certain
CD-certain
CD-highly probable
CD-probable
CD-possible
CD-unlikely but may not be precluded
CD-unlikely but may not be precluded
CD-excluded

For additional information go to: www.immcodiagnostics.com
or call 1-800-537-TEST



What's to Eat

If you have celiac disease, the only way to stay healthy is to stick to a gluten-free diet...

• Fresh meats, fish and poultry
• Milk and unprocessed cheeses
• Dried beans, corn and rice
• Plain fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables

Study food labels and avoid...
• Bread, cereal, pastas and other foods containing wheat, rye, barley and oat flours
• Certain processed foods such as salad dressings, canned soups, dried soup mixes, non-dairy creamers, processed cheeses and cream sauces
• Medications that use gluten to bind a pill or tablet together

When in doubt, check with your doctor, nutritionist or registered dietitician.



Who would benefit from a gluten free diet?

The following conditions have been associated with celiac disease:

• Alopecia (hair loss)
• Arthritis
• Attention deficit disorder
• Clotting problems
• Delayed onset of menarche
• Depression
• Diabetes
• Down's Syndrome
• Edema

 

• Infertility
• Iron deficiency anemia
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Liver problems
• Night blindness
• Osteoporosis, osteopenia
• Peripheral neuropathy
• Thyroid problems

The above information was compiled from medical books, lectures, journals and five years of research by Luke's mom who is a certified emergency nurse.