May is Celiac Awareness Month

 THOSE WITH CELIAC DISEASE MUST AVOID WHEAT & OTHER FOODS CONTAINING GLUTEN

THOSE WITH CELIAC DISEASE MUST AVOID WHEAT & OTHER FOODS CONTAINING GLUTEN

If you could know just one thing about celiac disease what should it be?

  • Should it be that celiac disease is a medical condition where the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by a substance called gluten?
  • Should it be that it is estimated that 1 in 133 people in Canada are affected by celiac disease?
  • Or, should it be that there is a great variation in sensitivity to gluten among those with celiac disease, and although one may have no obvious symptoms, damage to the intestinal lining may still occur?

Well, the most important thing you should know about celiac disease is if you (or anyone you love) has it!  Why? Because celiac disease is real, it is far more common than people think and the damage it causes (sometime undetected!) is incredibly dangerous.

What are the most common symptoms?

  • chronic diarrhea
  • cramping
  • bloating
  • irritability
  • anemia
  • weight loss

Celiac disease is thought to contribute to almost 10% of unexplained infertility issues.

How can you find out if you have Celiac disease?

A simple blood test - if this test comes back positive, a biopsy of the small bowel will be done to confirm the diagnosis. It is imperative that for both of these procedures you must be regularly eating a substantial amount of gluten (multiple servings, daily, in the preceding months) for the test to be accurate.

How is it treated?

People with celiac disease must follow a gluten-free diet for life. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale. People needing to avoid gluten must be very careful to look for hidden sources of gluten found in packaged and prepared foods and certain medications.  A person with celiac disease must read ingredient labels on everything they put in, or on, their body.

Stores like Pomme Natural Market carry everything a person with celiac disease needs from delicious, nutritious gluten-free foods and beverages to cosmetics and hair and body care products that are gluten-free to books and magazines that focus on gluten-free living. The produce section is the original gluten-free section of the store – produce is naturally 100% gluten-free. The deli contains so many choices for people looking for gluten-free foods including numerous grab-and-go items too and the store’s dedicated gluten-free freezer section makes selecting frozen gluten-free products easy.

Where can I go for more information?

There is lots of support for people with celiac disease.  For more information visit the Canadian Celiac Association celiac.ca.