Treatment of this disease requires education about the disease, about its symptoms, about the triggers for the disease, and management by the sufferer of his or her diet. The treatment does not require surgery. It does not require medication. It does not even require repeated visits to the doctor’s office.
What is celiac disease?
Treatment begins with understanding the disease and what triggers it.
It is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have the disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten causes the immune system to produce antibodies that attack the lining of the small intestine. The lining is responsible for absorbing nutrients and vitamins from food. The body is unable to absorb the nutrients it needs. When the body is deprived of the nutrients it needs, the result is poor health in the form of physical discomfort and/or pain, as well as undesirable emotional responses.
There is no cure for the disease. However there is a very effective treatment for the disease, which can relieve symptoms in 48 hours. It is a diet that is free of gluten.
What is a celiac disease diet?
To understand a gluten free diet, it will be helpful to define gluten. Gluten is a term for proteins that are found in grains. The particular grains that a celiac sufferer needs to pay attention to are wheat, barley, and rye. The gluten in wheat, barley, and rye contain particular amino acids that are harmful to persons with the disease.
When you hear the term “gluten free diet”, it means a diet that contains no wheat, barley and rye as well as no foods that contain traces of them.
Gluten will be found in breads, pastas, cake, pastries, donuts, cookies and other obvious grain products. Gluten is also “hidden” in many processed foods such as frozen french fried potatoes, snacks, soy sauce and cereal. Even many non-food items like cosmetics, and household cleansers contain gluten.
It is best to get professional advice from a dietician or nutrition specialist to compile a list of all foods and products that must be avoided and most importantly a long list of foods and products that you can enjoy as a substitute.
Celiac disease treatment – how long must a sufferer stay on a gluten free diet?
There is no cure for the disease. Once someone has been diagnosed with it, treatment requires that they be on a gluten free diet to experience relief from the symptoms. However to remain free from those symptoms, a sufferer must eliminate gluten from their diet for the rest of their lives. Celiac disease treatment requires a lifetime commitment to a gluten free diet.
Following diagnosis of the disease, the sufferer will experience challenges in making the transition to a gluten free diet from the diet the sufferer has been accustomed to. However, the rewards are great. Celiac disease treatment can eliminate symptoms very quickly- sometimes as soon as 48 hours after going on the diet. This brings with it a rapid return to health and well being.
There are further challenges in remaining on this diet for the rest of their lives. However the rewards more than compensate for the challenges. A gluten free life enables someone with the disease to live a full, healthy and active life free of any symptoms and of the consequences of the disease.
Undiagnosed celiac disease has serious implications for the health and well being of someone with the disease. If celiac disease symptoms are not recognised and treated, it can result in terminal illness. The only known celiac disease treatment is a gluten free diet, which must be followed for the rest of the person’s life, in order to remain symptom free. This means that for a celiac to live a normal, healthy and happy life, he or she must live a gluten free life.
As the disease is not uncommon (1 in every 133 Ameicans suffer from it), can anyone really afford ignorance of this disease?
Find out more about celiac disease.