Celiac disease

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Gluten - Summit Shah
Gluten – Summit Shah

Celiac disease, also known as “Gluten Intolerance” is a disorder that affects at least 1 in 133 Americans by causing a reaction to “gliadin”, a gluten protein found in wheat, barley, rye and sometimes oats. The inflammation and destruction of the inner lining of the small intestine in someone with Celiac disease is caused by an allergic reaction to the gluten in the diet. This chronic digestive disorder leads to the malabsorption of minerals and nutrients. The disease mostly affects people of European (especially Northern European) descent, but recent studies show that it also affects Hispanic, Black and Asian populations as well. Those affected suffer damage to the Villi (shortening and villous flattening) in the lamina propria and crypt regions of their intestines when they eat specific food-grain antigens (toxic amino acid sequences) that are found in wheat, rye and barley.

Celiac disease (CD) has two ways of presenting itself and its symptoms. The first presentation is that of “Classic Symptoms” and approximately 50% of sufferers will present with the following classic symptoms of the disease; abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, diarrhea and weight loss. If the disease goes unchecked for too long, lab work may reveal deficiencies in folate, iron, zinc, protein, fat and vitamins A, D, E and Vitamin K. The second type of presentation, is that of “Modern Symptoms”. Due to changes in the genetic structure of modern wheat, the immune system now reacts differently to gluten in the other 50% of patients. Gastrointestinal symptoms may not be apparent at all or may come decades into the disease. Instead, these patients can experience a variety of the following symptoms; rash, chronic fatigue system, anemia, infertility, abdominal pain with diarrhea, dementia, arthritis, chronic pain and short stature in kids. Some patients have so much damage to their intestines that even a “gluten-free” diet will not help them, they would require multiple nutritional supplements through an I.V. line.

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