Educating patients about celiac disease and a gluten-free diet

There are 300 symptoms associated with this autoimmune disorder. Here’s how to inform people about CD and its severe long-term health complications.    

An estimated 2.5 million Americans have celiac disease but are undiagnosed.

To address this issue, nutritionists, allergists and pediatricians can help their patients receive treatment and improve their quality of life.

The Celiac Disease Foundation website says people who have this condition and ingest gluten can damage the small intestine.

When untreated, CD can lead to serious health issues, including:

  • Type 1 diabetes

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Osteoporosis

  • Epilepsy and migraines

  • Infertility and miscarriages

  • Intestinal cancer

  • Anemia

So, what exactly is gluten and what does it meant to eat gluten free?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Its consistency helps hold food together. This list provides examples of gluten sources and some common foods that contain it. Gluten-free products can be found at most grocery stores, but a healthy, natural diet of vegetables and fruits, meat, fish and legumes is encouraged.

This infographic shows symptoms reported by people with this debilitating illness. They include:

  • Gas and bloating

  • Constipation or diarrhea

  • Brain fog

  • Chronic fatigue

  • Headaches and sinus pressure

  • Mouth sores

  • Back pain

Because many symptoms are common to other gastric conditions, a blood test and subsequent intestinal biopsy are typically needed to confirm the presence of celiac disease.

(View larger image here) CeliacDiseaseInfographic900-850x1611

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