Celiac disease is a health problem where the body can’t digest foods with gluten. Gluten is a type of protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. It damages the intestines of people with celiac disease.
When the intestines are damaged, it causes poor digestion and prevents the body from getting all the nutrients out of food. Some people with celiac disease don’t have any symptoms. But some people have stomach pain, diarrhea, oily bowel movements, weight loss, bloating, poor appetite, and rashes. It can cause poor growth in children.
When the body doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, it can lead to weak bones or anemia (low iron levels). When you’re diagnosed with celiac disease, you need to stop eating all foods that have gluten. Usually, symptoms start to get better after about 2 weeks of following a gluten-free eating plan. People without symptoms still need to stop eating gluten to make sure their bodies get all the nutrients from food.
About 5 to 10% of people with type 1 diabetes will develop antibodies for celiac disease. Not eating foods with gluten can affect your blood sugar management. It’s a good idea to work with your healthcare provider to learn more about gluten-free diets, how to read food labels, and the glycemic index. Your healthcare team can help you balance your insulin to carbohydrate intake as you make changes to your diet. If you have diabetes and thyroid/celiac disease, you may be at risk for other autoimmune disorders. Talk to your healthcare provider about this.
Current as of: February 9, 2018
Author: Primary Care and Chronic Disease Management, Alberta Health Services
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