What Do You Do if You Have Celiac Disease?

Connect Healthy Tips What Do You Do if You Have Celiac Disease?

Did your doctor diagnose you with celiac disease, or do you think you may have it? Here’s some helpful information, including links to books about the disease, to help you stay healthy.

What Is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease, a type of autoimmune disorder, causes a digestive issue that damages the small intestine when you eat gluten. It occurs mainly in people with a genetic history of it. Gluten is a type of protein that is found in colored grains like wheat, rye, barley, and oats. You can also find it in other products like hair and skin products.

Each celiac patient is affected by this disease differently. The symptoms can have effects on the other organs as well as the digestive tract. Some people can even show no signs of having celiac disease at all. This disease can develop at any age after the person begins to eat foods that contain gluten.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease in Adults

Celiac disease in adults causes a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Anemia
  • Fatigue
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Digestive disorders
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Itchy skin rash
  • Tingling or numbness or pain the extremities

How Do Doctors Diagnose and Treat It?

Since celiac is genetically passed, doctors would most likely use antibody blood tests to make a diagnosis. You may also need a biopsy. Treatment is fairly simple. It is a diet with no gluten. You’ll most likely be asked to look at nutrition labels of the foods that you normally eat to ensure that there is not gluten in the product.

Celiac Disease Versus Gluten Intolerance

Gluten intolerance, or gluten sensitivity, is when the body cannot break down gluten. The symptoms are similar, such as diarrhea, nausea, or fatigue, but gluten sensitivity does not cause an immune response that damages the internal lining of the small intestine.

It’s hard to tell the difference between celiac disease and general gluten intolerance on your own, so you should talk to your doctor if you think you might have one of these disorders.

National Celiac Disease Awareness Day

September 13 is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day, meant to raise awareness for a condition much more common than you might think. Did you know that 1 in 100 people are affected by Celiac Disease worldwide? And becoming aware is crucial — the Celiac Disease Foundation reports that 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed and at risk for long-term health complications.

If you do not have a doctor and would like help finding one, UT Medical Center’s Healthcare Coordination can help. They will talk to you about what insurance you have, what type of doctor you need, and what days are most convenient for you. Call them today at 865-305-6970 to make an appointment.

About the Health Information Center

The Health Information Center,which provided this Healthy Tip, is a library staffed by medical librarians and certified health information specialists. If you let us know your health information needs, we will do research for you and mail or email the results to you for free. You can call us at 865-305-9525 or email us at library@utmck.edu. We also have a large collection of health books covering a variety of topics, including the following:

Celiac disease: a hidden epidemic

My gluten-free Knoxville : a gluten-free-friendly all-American town

Mayo Clinic going gluten-free

Gluten-free mainstream America : recipes for health : artisan breads, nutritional meals, how-to instructions for coping with and cooking for celiac disease and gluten intolerance

Becoming a library member is free and only requires a picture ID.

The Health Information Center in located on the first floor the hospital. We have computers, printers, and a quiet place to take a break. We are open the following times:

Mon.-Thurs., 8:30 am-9 pm
Fri., 8:30 am-5 pm
Sat., 9 am-5 pm
Sun., 1 pm-9 pm


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