May 21, 2013 | 08:22 AM (BD Time)
21 May, 2013 Tuesday
Celiac disease - an autoimmune protein disorder
Sifat Jerin Binte Mujib :
Celiac (pronounced: see-lee-ak) disease is a common digestive condition where a person is intolerant to the protein gluten. Celiac disease is an auto-immune disease, which means that the body's immune system attacks itself. People with celiac disease when eat gluten containing food, this results in damage to the lining of the small intestine which stops the body properly absorbing the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The body's inability to absorb nutrients can also mean that young people with untreated celiac disease may not grow properly and may have weight loss and fatigue. In addition, people who have celiac disease may be prone to developing other diseases, such as thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, and gastrointestinal cancer.
Gluten is the common term for a group of proteins found in three types of cereal: wheat, barley and rye. Gluten is found in any food that contains the above cereals including: most type of bread, cakes, breakfast cereals, pasta.
The cause of celiac disease is still a mystery. Experts don't know exactly why people get celiac disease, which is also known as gluten intolerance, celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy (GSE).The disease has some genetic background, which means that it may run in families. Just like eye or hair color, people inherit the genes that make them more likely to get celiac disease from their parents and grandparents. If an immediate family member has celiac disease, there's about a 5% to 10% chance that you could have it, too. 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. In fact celiac disease affects people of all heritages and backgrounds.
The symptoms of celiac disease can range from very mild to severe. Celiac disease is a multi-system, multi-symptom disorder. If someone with celiac disease is exposed to gluten, they may experience a wide range of symptoms and adverse effects, including: diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, weight loss, failure to grow at the expected rate, infertility, and malnutrition and can develop anemia, osteoporosis or some types of cancer. In adults, the disease can be triggered for the first time after surgery, viral infection, severe emotional stress, pregnancy or childbirth. Infants, toddlers and young children with celiac disease may often exhibit growth failure, vomiting, bloated abdomen, behavioral changes.
After diagnosis, the Celiac disease can be identified because the symptoms of celiac disease are similar to some other digestive conditions. If a doctor suspects someone has celiac disease, he or she will probably order a blood test as a first step in diagnosing the disease. If the results of the blood test show a high level of antibodies to gluten and to certain other proteins in the intestinal lining - a sign that the person could have celiac disease - then the doctor may order a biopsy of the small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.
At present, the only effective treatment is a life-long gluten free diet. No medication exists that will prevent damage or prevent the body from attacking the gut when gluten is present. Although there is no cure but a doctor will help treat it, because celiac disease can be managed successfully by following a gluten-free diet. People with celiac disease need to follow this diet for life.
Because gluten can be found in everything from breakfast cereals to prepared luncheon meats, they need to be very aware of what's in the foods they eat. A doctor or dietitian who specializes in celiac disease can help them develop an eating plan that works with their lifestyle.
People with celiac disease should avoid some kinds of foods and ingredients like as fried chicken, french fries (if they've been coated in flour), breading (such as the coating on breaded chicken cutlets, etc.), cake flour (made from wheat), udon noodles, pastas, wheat-free products (wheat free does not mean gluten free; many wheat-free cookies and breads contain barley or rye flour, which contains gluten and other gluten-containing ingredients), yogurts with wheat starch, creamed or breaded vegetables, dry roasted nuts (processing agents may contain wheat flour or flavorings), processed meats, imitation bacon, crab, or other seafood, gravies and sauces (including some tomato and meat sauces), modified food starch (most food manufacturers will now specify the source of this ingredient; e.g., modified cornstarch, which is OK, or modified wheat starch, which is not), Malt powder, nondairy creamer, salad dressings, caramel color (occasionally made from barley), seasonings (pure spices are OK, but check seasoning mixes for gluten-containing additives), soup mixes and canned soups, soy sauce and soy sauce solids (they may be fermented with wheat; don't eat them unless you verify they're OK with a dietitian), spreads, soft cheeses, and dips, thickeners, alcoholic beverages, some herbal teas and flavored coffees.
Eating a gluten-free diet is a lifelong commitment. But if you have celiac disease, you are not alone. Lots of support groups, cookbooks, and websites are dedicated to living a gluten-free life.
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