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Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Support Page
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The Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Diet Support Page has provided information and support for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance since 1995, including important gluten-free and wheat-free diet resources. The purpose of this site is to provide people who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and are not aware of it, with a means of figuring out what their problem is, and to help those who know they have it lead more comfortable and healthy lives.

Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that affects between 1 in 150 1 to 1 in 250 2 Americans. Symptoms of celiac disease can range from the classic features, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition, to latent symptoms such as isolated nutrient deficiencies but no gastrointestinal symptoms. The disease mostly affects people of European descent, and occurs more rarely in black and Asian populations3. Those affected suffer damage to the villi (shortening and villous flattening) in the lamina propria and crypt regions of their intestines when they eat specific food-grain antigens (toxic amino acid sequences) that are found in wheat, rye, and barley3. Oats have traditionally been considered to be toxic to celiacs, but recent scientific studies have shown otherwise. This research is ongoing, however, and it may be too early to draw solid conclusions.

Because of the broad range of symptoms celiac disease presents, it can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms can range from "mild weakness, bone pain, and aphthous stomatitis to chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, and progressive weight loss.3" If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, studies have shown that he or she will increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by a factor of 40 to 100 times that of the normal population4. Further, "gastrointestinal carcinoma or lymphoma develops in up to 15 percent of patients with untreated or refractory celiac disease3."

It is therefore imperative that the disease is quickly and properly diagnosed so it can be treated as soon as possible. Based on the figures mentioned above, we can extrapolate the total possible number of people in the United States with this disorder from the total population (274,544,9665). If we do so we end up with somewhere between1,830,299 and 1,098,179 people with celiac disease! An average of these two numbers leaves us with approximately 1,464,239 people in the United States who have the disease in its classic or latent form. It is very important that doctors understand just how high these numbers are, and to test their patients when there is any possibility that they might have the disease. Testing is fairly simple and involves either screening the patient's blood for antigliadin (AGA) and endomysium antibodies (EmA), or doing a biopsy on the areas of the intestines mentioned above, which is the still the best way to diagnose the disease.

The only acceptable treatment for celiac disease is strict adherence to a 100% gluten-free diet for life. An adherence to a gluten-free diet can prevent almost all complications caused by the disease3. A gluten-free diet means avoiding all products that contain wheat, rye and barley, or any of their derivatives. This is a difficult task as there are many hidden sources of gluten found in the ingredients of many processed foods. This site is designed to help people with celiac disease get diagnosed, and make life easier after their diagnosis. Those who are interested can read the story of my diagnosis.

  1. University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, Multi-Center Serological Screening Study Results, Alessio Fasano, M.D., Karoly Horvath, M.D./Ph.D., May 20, 2000 (Link).
  2. Gastroenterology, April, 1996 "First Epidemiological Study of Gluten Intolerance in the United States." By Karoly Horvath, M.D., Ph.D., et. al..
  3. New England Journal of Medicine, May 2, 1996 -- Volume 334, Number 18, "The Many Faces of Celiac Disease" by Charles H. Halsted, M.D.
  4. Goggins, et. al. "Celiac Disease and Other Nutrient Related Injuries to the Gastrointestinal Tract" The American Journal of Gastroenterology. Vol. 89, No. 8, pages S2 - S13, 1994.
  5. United States Census Bureau, April 4, 2000.

Information on this site has been compiled from a variety of sources, including medical journals, books, doctors, scientists and the Celiac Listserv News Group. I would like to especially thank the latter for providing an invaluable source information for celiacs, doctors and researchers.

A free e-mail list has been created for this site to let you know when it is updated, and to give you other important information which cannot be found here. To subscribe, send me an e-mail requesting that you be added to the mailing list. You will receive approximately one e-mail per month and your e-mail address will remain private.

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Table of Contents

What's New?

Frequently Asked Questions - A good place to begin!

Broad Overview of Celiac Disease / Gluten Intolerance - by Stephen J. Gislason, M.D.

Celiac in the 90's & Beyond

A History Of Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance

Diagnosis & Treatment of Celiac Disease: A Gluten-Free Diet

Diseases Which Resemble Celiac Disease and Related Disorders

Research Data On Celiac Disease & Gluten Intolerance

Dermatitis Herpetiformis - A skin condition associated with CD.

Allergy vs. Intolerance - What is the difference?

Safe & Forbidden Lists for Gluten-Free Diets

Grain Information Page - Information on most grains.

Oats and Celiac Disease / Gluten Intolerance - Are oats safe?

The Gluten-Free Mall - Your Special Diet Superstore!

Gluten-Free Publications - Cookbooks, newsletters, GF shopping lists, etc., buy your books here!

Gluten-Free Specialty Food Companies

Gluten-Free Products

Recipes & Cooking Tips

Celiac Organizations and Contacts - Support Groups.

Doctors Recommended by People with Celiac Disease

Conferences, Meetings & Events

Tax Deduction for Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Food

Miscellaneous Information on Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Links

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Current News

Dietary Gluten in Celiacs Linked to Organ-Specific Autoantibodies
According to the latest research by Dr. Alessandro Ventura, "A gluten-free diet started early may prevent the other autoimmune diseases frequently associated with celiac disease"....[Read Article].
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Adolescent Celiacs Have Elevated Levels of Anti-Thyroid and Anti-Pancreatic Autoantibodies
The results of this new study indicate that gluten plays a key role in observed autoimmunity, and may in some cases result in organ dysfunction...[Read Article].

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Small-Bowel Lymphoma Associated With Unrecognized Celiac Disease
Patients with small-bowel lymphoma had a 15.72-times-higher risk of unrecognized celiac disease. "Every effort should be made to diagnose coeliac disease at every opportunity and raises the issue of whether population screening for coeliac disease should be carried out"...[Read Article].

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Prevention Of Celiac Disease Could Be Possible
This study demonstrates that the celiac disease epidemic in Sweden is in part the result of a change in three factors within the area of infant feeding, including the amount of gluten given, the age of gluten introduction, and whether breastfeeding was ongoing or not when it was introduced....[Read Article].

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