Celiac Disease - Gluten Intolerance
Patients with celiac disease are unable to
tolerate the protein gluten, found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. Actually,
gluten is a mixture of dozens of different proteins, which fall into two
typres: glutenins and gliadins. bloating,
mouth ulcers and sore tongue, painful joints, and depression.
Treatment is a Gluten-Free Diet
At present, the only treatment for celiac
disease is to follow a gluten-free diet, and eliminate all foods that
contain wheat, rye, barley and oats. Most celiac patients have to avoid
all traces of gluten, while some celiacs can get away with eating a small
amount occasionally. Also, some patients do not have to eliminate oats
from their diet. On the other hand, some celiac sufferers have an acute
reaction (known as celiac shock) to even the smallest amount of gluten.
Effect of Gluten-Free Diet on Symptoms
of Celiac Disease
For most people, a gluten-free diet reduces
symptoms and heals existing intestinal damage. Improvements may be experienced
within days of starting the diet, and the small intestine is usually completely
healed within 3-6 months. However, results are conditional upon the history
and severity of symptoms. Thus it may take up to 2 years for older celiacs
to recover fully and some problems, such as delayed growth and tooth discoloration,
may never improve. Finally, a small percentage of patients do not improve.
These sufferers typically have severely damaged intestines that are unresponsive
even after they eliminate gluten from their diets. In such cases, drug
treatment may be indicated.
Back to Top
About Gluten-Free Diet for Celiacs
Back to Diets for Special Conditions
Please Note: The above advice about
Celiac diet and eating habits is offered for general educational purposes
only. If you suffer from gluten intolerance, please consult your physician
for specific personal dietary advice.