Diabetes and Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease is common in people that have Type 1 diabetes. This disease, like type 1 diabetes, is also an autoimmune disorder. So then a person with the autoimmune disorder of type 1 diabetes, is then likely to have this difficult digestive disorder.

What's this about "Gluten-Free?"

The term "gluten-free" has become more familiar to American consumers than it was a decade ago. While people suffering from celiac disease once had to maintain very prohibitive diets to control their condition, manufacturers have responded to consumer needs by producing a wider variety of gluten-free products. Some of the most common gluten-containing foods that aggravate celiac symptoms include wheat, oats, rye and barley. Although the cause of celiac remains unknown, those who suffer from this disease often experience malnutrition since celiac prevents the body from properly absorbing essential vitamins and minerals.

Resulting vitamin deficiencies contribute to a variety of unpleasant disorders and symptoms. A few of these health issues include thyroid disease, type 1 diabetes, infertility, autoimmune dysfunction, intestinal lymphomas and cancers, nosebleeds, abdominal discomfort and bloating, depression, easy bruising, nosebleeds, bowel and weight changes, and oral ulcers. Symptoms and other health conditions vary from patient to patient. To diagnose patients with celiac, doctors first look for abnormal blood test results and then typically order an upper endoscopy and biopsy to determine if the disease is present.

If the biopsy indicates celiac, the doctor's primary prescription will be dietary changes. By following a gluten-free diet, most sufferers can control or alleviate their symptoms and most related conditions. When attempting to eat gluten-free, some patients discover that gluten can hide in the most unusual places. Even some fruit juices can contain additives that contain gluten or that otherwise aggravate celiac symptoms. In the past, patients had to determine by trial and error which beverages would aggravate their symptoms. However, many beverages now boast "gluten-free" on their labels so that they can automatically appeal to those with special nutrition needs.

An example of a gluten-free beverage that also contains antioxidant-rich acai berries, other superfruits, vitamins and dietary fiber is the superfruit juice Monavie. Since celiac disease actually prevents the intestines from properly absorbing vitamins and minerals, Monavie, which packs 13 servings of fruits and vegetables into one daily dose, can be used in conjunction with a gluten-free diet to counterbalance many symptoms brought on by vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Plus, this product's liquid form makes it easier to absorb than standard vitamins.

Patients with celiac no longer have to do their grocery shopping exclusively at specialty stores. Even mass merchandisers carry gluten-free products. First came sugar-free and fat-free. Now, gluten-free is just "one of the crowd" at the local grocery store.

There is also "silent Celiac disease. This group of people are asymptomatic. This form is only diagnosed when the bowel is examined or biopsied because of another problem a person is having.

Otherwise the diagnosis of Celiac starts with blood testing which will search for a certain type of antibodies that are usually found in people with Celiac. If you do have these antibodies, then your doctor will need to do a series of biopsies to remove tissue samples of your small intestine. What they are looking for there is a change in tissue. This testing is done by using a special scope through the mouth leading into the small intestine.

The next step in diagnosis is to have you try a gluten-free diet for about a week or so. If you feel much more comfortable, then this is an indicator of Celiac disease present.

The key to treating Celiac disease, is to give up gluten-containing foods. I would advise anyone with this problem to sit down with a nutritional expert, or dietitian, and figure out how you can eat well, still enjoy many foods, but without gluten present.

The body will no longer have the abilities to absorb nutrients from foods.

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