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Celiac Disease



One in 141 Americans Has Celiac Disease But Doesn’t Realize it

In having two friends over for dinner last night who are both gluten free, I realized two things: One, it can be extremely difficult to accommodate a gluten-free diet. And two, perhaps I’m slightly gluten intolerant myself as I’ve had similar symptoms to the ones they were listing off before changing their diet. 

And after seeing a report this morning from RTT News that most Americans have celiac disease but are unaware of it, I’m starting to wonder if I’m among the gluten intolerant after all.

A new survey from the Mayo Clinic found that about 1.8 million Americans have celiac disease, but approximately 1.4 million are unaware they have it. Or, 1 in 141 Americans is living with the condition without knowing it.

Researchers ran blood tests on 7,798 people over the age of six who’d previously participated in a nationwide survey from the CDC between 2009 and 2010. Findings revealed that 35 participants had celiac disease – 20 were women, 29 were Caucasian, and 29 were entirely unaware of their condition.
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Q&A with Leading Celiac Experts on Gluten Sensitivity, Schizophrenia, and Nutritional Deficiencies

By Kristin Voorhees, MA, and Brenda Flaherty for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) kicked off this year’s Celiac Awareness Month by hosting the live webcast “State of the Union: A Live Chat with Experts on Gluten-Related Disorders” on May 3, 2012.

Alice Bast, Founder and President of NFCA, moderated the 60-minute event, which featured internationally renowned experts in the field of celiac disease research including Stefano Guandalini, MD of the University of Chicago, Alessio Fasano, MD of the University of Maryland, and Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

The event supplied patients and providers alike with the latest news in gluten-related disorders research free of charge. The panelists’ discussions were based on questions and concerns submitted to the NFCA team in the months leading up to the special webcast.

Dr. Guandalini kicked off the event by identifying the differences between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity and explaining the important role guidelines play in diagnosing a gluten-related disorder. Next, the audience heard from Dr. Fasano, who touched on multiple research ventures in the field, including the timing of gluten introduction in infants. Finally, Melinda Dennis provided tips on how nutritional counseling can ensure that patients live a healthy gluten-free life.

Because there is never enough time to cover all of the celiac and gluten-free topics we’d like to discuss, NFCA asked the trio of experts to participate in this follow-up Q&A session. Here’s what they had to say!
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Gluten-Free Diet Awareness is a Blessing and a Curse

As the words celiac and gluten free are becoming a part of our daily jargon, it seemed important to clear up some misconceptions about this disease and food intolerance. While it seems this topic is just another diet fad, the truth is anything but a trend.

More than three million Americans live with celiac disease. Those with celiac experience something very different than those with sensitivity to gluten. Celiac is an auto-immune condition that causes damage to the small intestine and causes poor absorption of nutrients. The issues occur as the body’s reaction to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley). USANA Health Sciences’ naturopathic physician Dr. Nancy Steely explains that those with celiac disease (CD) experience a wide range of symptoms that commonly include muscle cramping, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, skin rashes, and joint pain.

Dr. Steely clarifies why CD symptoms vary by person. As with all auto-immune disorders, the body attacks its own cells and therefore symptoms appear differently for each person. Due to this, many go misdiagnosed. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness reports that people typically go 6-10 years before they receive a correct diagnosis of their symptoms.
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NFCA: The Gluten-Free Resource for Current Nutrition Information

By Wendy Gregory Kaho

There’s a lot of talk right now about the gluten-free diet and weight loss. Whether it’s the latest celebrity claiming the pounds are falling off while avoiding gluten or discussions on blogs and Facebook, weight loss is tied to a gluten free lifestyle. For those of us who have been gluten-free for a while due to celiac disease or another gluten-related disorder, weight loss and gluten-free don’t always go together.

When I first went gluten-free 5 or 6 years ago, I lost 35 pounds. I ate a naturally gluten-free diet that omitted all gluten-containing foods, with very few gluten-free replacements. At the time, there weren’t many good gluten-free breads or baked goods to tempt me and the availability of gluten-free flours was limited.

Back when I was walking nearly every day to help with the swelling and discomfort of my gluten reactions, the pounds did literally melt off. Then I started a gluten-free blog and started sampling all the processed gluten-free foods that were flooding the market and sitting at a desk working on my computer. I gained back the weight and then some more. This is a typical scenario for a lot of gluten-free people. As our intestines heal and our body starts absorbing nutrients and calories, there is a tendency for those with celiac disease to gain some weight. If we aren’t careful about the food choices we make when we replace the gluten-full foods in our diet, we can be adding lots of sugar and fat and white processed starches, gluten-free flours and, of course, pounds.
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Joy Bauer Addresses Gluten Confusion on Today

Gluten-free diets have caught mainstream attention in a big way, but it’s also a subject that’s widely misunderstood. Gluten is a protein that’s found in wheat, barley and rye, which means that gluten is also in any product that contains these grains as an ingredient.


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