Celiac disease is found in about one in 141 people in the United States which totals to approximately 3 million people it affects according to the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Thousands of people each year go undiagnosed but blood tests can confirm a suspected diagnosis.
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine while interfering with the absorption of nutrients from food. People who have this disease cannot tolerate gluten which is a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by destroying villi which line the small intestine. Without a healthy villi, a person will become malnourished. Celiac disease is also genetic, meaning it runs in families.
These 5 tips are to help those currently living with the disease:
1) Get regular screenings
Experts recommend that all adults with celiac disease get blood screenings for ferritin folate, vitamin B12, and thyroid stimulating hormone. These tests will allow you and your doctor to track how well your intestines have healed.
2) Ask your doctor if you should have a bone-density scan
Long-term malabsorption of calcium can lead to the thinning and weakening of bones-also known as osteoporosis. If your bones show signs of thinning, you and your doctor can start a treatment plan.
3) Urge family members to get tested
Since celiac disease is genetic, first and second degree relatives should all be tested.
4) If you are pregnant or recently had a baby:
Experts highly encourage breast feeding which will offer the baby some protection from celiac disease.
5) Take advantage of new technology
Check out some of the gluten-free apps available for smart phones.