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
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.
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."
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.
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
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).
April, 1996 "First Epidemiological Study of Gluten
Intolerance in the United States." By Karoly Horvath,
M.D., Ph.D., et. al..
England Journal of Medicine, May 2, 1996 -- Volume 334,
Number 18, "The Many Faces of Celiac Disease"
by Charles H. Halsted, M.D.
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.
States Census Bureau, April 4, 2000.
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.
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.
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Frequently Asked Questions - A good place
Broad Overview of Celiac Disease / Gluten Intolerance
- by Stephen J. Gislason, M.D.
Dermatitis Herpetiformis - A skin condition
associated with CD.
Allergy vs. Intolerance - What is the
Grain Information Page - Information
on most grains.
Oats and Celiac Disease / Gluten Intolerance -
Are oats safe?
Gluten-Free Publications -
Cookbooks, newsletters, GF shopping lists, etc., buy your
Celiac Organizations and Contacts - Support