Table of Contents
#1 “What’s the cure for celiac disease?”
Currently, there is no known cure for celiac disease, it can only be controlled through the adoption of a strict gluten-free diet.
#2 “What are the signs I should look out for?”
Celiac disease can display many different symptoms. In children, digestive symptoms are more likely. However, adults can experience symptoms related to other areas of the body.
Some common symptoms to watch for:
- Frequent Diarrhea
- Vomiting (normally affects children)
- Constant tiredness, fatigue
- Canker sores in the mouth
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Itchy skin rash
- Tingling sensation in hands or feet
Symptoms displayed in infants:
- Constant irritability
- Lack of weight gain/growth
- Muscle wasting (arms/legs)
#3 “What are my chances of developing celiac disease?”
Anyone can develop the disease. However, it is genetic which means if someone in your close family has already been diagnosed, you have an elevated risk of celiac disease. (1)
Also, if you suffer with any forms of autoimmune disease, such as type 1 diabetes, risk of developing celiac disease is increased.
#4 “How common is celiac disease?”
Research shows celiac disease affects the lives of around one percent of the population worldwide. However, it is also a disease that is heavily underdiagnosed. (2)
#5 “What’s the best way to get tested for celiac disease?”
A visit to the doctors for a blood test is the first step. If the results confirm celiac disease is likely, you will be referred for further tests.
A biopsy of the small intestine is the only way to achieve a proper diagnosis of celiac disease.
#6 “Does celiac disease cause any complications?”
Celiac disease affects the small intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients into the body. It is common for patients with celiac disease to suffer with conditions linked to nutrient deficiencies.
- Lactose intolerance
- Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones)
Celiac disease is also an autoimmune disease which increases likelihood of other autoimmune conditions. If you have celiac disease or a delay in diagnosis, you have a higher chance of developing:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Autoimmune thyroid disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Dermatitis herpetiformis
#7 “I am allergic to gluten. Does it mean I have celiac disease?”
No. Celiac disease is different to an allergy.
A gluten allergy is an immune response towards the consumption of gluten. This sets off a flare up of similar symptoms to that of celiac disease.
However, celiac disease is as an autoimmune disease. The presence of gluten causes inflammation which attacks and damages the lining of the small intestines.
#8 “I think I might have celiac disease. Should I stop eating gluten?”
If you are experiencing symptoms indicating towards celiac disease, your doctor will advise you not to remove gluten from your diet at this point.
Removing gluten from your diet before any tests are carried out means the results will not show the full picture. Work closely with your doctor to to determine the appropriate steps for testing.
#9 “What medical treatment can be offered?”
The only effective treatment for celiac disease is to completely avoid foods containing gluten. Therefore, a strict gluten-free diet should be implemented and maintained.
#10 “What is dermatitis herpetiformis?”
It’s a skin condition which is form of celiac disease. Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) is an extremely itchy skin rash that also blisters up.
Gluten triggers off the reaction in the body and the rash appears mainly around the knees, elbows and the buttocks.
#11 “I’m worried about eating out at restaurants. How can I make sure my meal is gluten-free?”
When someone else is doing the cooking, it can feel like you aren’t in control. Here are some tips, to help alleviate your anxiety:
- Be sure to understand the gluten-free principles yourself.
- If possible, choose a restaurant that has a gluten-free menu.
- Make it clear to the staff that you have celiac disease and that they understand the implications.
- Ask lots of questions to your server, and don’t hesitate if you think something is not right with your meal.
#12 “What foods should I eat on a gluten-free diet?”
Many staple foods do not contain gluten. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish and most dairy products can all be eaten on a gluten-free diet.
You can easily find a wide range of gluten-free alternatives for popular foods such as pasta, bread and many other kinds of foods.
If you are not sure whether the ingredients contain gluten, then do not eat it until you know for certain.
A strict Paleo diet can be a great starting point for eating a well-balanced, gluten-free diet.
#13 “I’ve eaten gluten by mistake. What should I do?”
Everyone reacts to gluten differently, this means there is no universal solution. Symptoms of celiac disease could be persistent for a few hours or for days.
#14 “I’m following a gluten-free diet, but I am still not seeing any improvement. What’s wrong?”
Chat with your doctor about your concerns as soon as possible. It’s also worth considering whether any possible cross-contamination has occurred.
#15 “If I touch gluten, will it affect me?”
Gluten can be found in many non-food items you wouldn’t expect:
- Cosmetics (lipstick, lip gloss)
- Stamp glue
- Hair care products
Gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin. Therefore, you don’t need to be too concerned about using topical items such as skin care products.
Take care when using makeup which could be easily ingested. Lipsticks or lip glosses pose a potential threat if it contains gluten.
#16 Is celiac disease only found in children?
No. Celiac disease can develop at any age.
#17 “Will my child grow out of it?”
Once celiac disease is diagnosed, it’s a lifelong condition and the only way to control it is through a gluten-free diet.
#18 I don’t have any symptoms with my celiac disease. Am I ok to eat gluten?
In some cases, people don’t experience any symptoms. This is known as “silent celiac disease”
A gluten-free diet is still advisable simply because the small intestine will continue to be damaged if gluten is consumed.
#19 Can I drink alcohol?
You can’t drink beer (unless it’s a gluten-free alternative) however, wine and liquor is gluten-free.
#20 How long does it take to feel better?
This comes down to the individual. But usually improvements start to show within a few weeks of starting a gluten-free diet.
This is the “FAQ” section of our celiac guide series. Check out the other installments below:
- The Ultimate Guide to Celiac Disease
- Symptoms of Celiac Disease
- Testing for Celiac Disease
- Treatment for Celiac Disease
- Celiac Disease & Your Diet
- Awareness of Celiac Disease
- Celiac Disease & Our Anatomy
- Celiac Disease & Weight Gain
- Celiac Disease & Alcohol
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