ï‚· Chronic diarrhea or constipation
ï‚· Unexplained weight loss
ï‚· Gas/abdominal cramping
ï‚· Fatigue or depression
ï‚· Bone or joint pain
ï‚· InfertilityÂ If left untreated or undetected, celiac disease may cause gastrointestinal (GI) cancers, gall bladder malfunction, vitamin K deficiency, other vitamin and mineral deficiencies, osteoporosis and other serious conditions. In order to detect celiac disease, one must first do antibody blood testing. This will only suggest the presence of the disease but not confirm it. In order to confirm it, one must go through an endoscopic biopsy of the small bowel. Genetic testing can also be done, however, it may just indicate that the person has a predisposition for the disease.
The disease can often present itself during traumatic life events such as car accident, pregnancy, anxiety, excessive stress, surgery or other events.Treatment of celiac disease is avoiding all gluten containing products. When gluten is removed from the diet, the small intestine can restore itself and overall health improves. In certain cases, due to the damage to the small intestine, lactose -containing foods (milk, cheese, ice-cream, etc.) may also need to be removed from the diet. After the small intestine restores itself, lactose-containing foods can be reintroduced. Restoring the small intestine may take from 6-18 months. In order to follow a strict gluten free diet one must read all food labels when shopping and eating:
Grains to avoid: wheat, barley, rye, malt, spelt, kamut, triticale, semolina, faro, graham, enkorn, and spelt. (Wheat free is not necessarily gluten free)
Grains allowed: rice, soy, corn, potato, tapioca, beans, garfava, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, MontinaÂ®, flax, and nut flours.Don't forget, you must avoid cross contamination in preparation between gluten containing foods and gluten free foods. Example: do not cut wheat bread on the same board or with the same knife as gluten free bread. Do not fry in the same pan.
Athlete Check List:
- Athletes with celiac disease need to carry snacks with them at all times.
- Make sure the coach, athletic trainer or other person traveling knows your restrictions so they can help watch out for contaminated food.
- If you train at a facility that has a kitchen, make sure the chef and the cooks know so that they can pre-pare gluten free foods for you with-out cross contaminating. If need be, make your own food, and bring it with you in a personal cooler.
- Make sure you read ALL labels and when in doubt contact the manufacturers.
- Green, PH. The many faces of celiac disease: clinical presentation of celiac disease in the adult population. Gastroenterology. 2005;128:S74-78