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I Think I have Celiac Disease: Should I Get Tested or Start Gluten-Free Diet?

Celiac disease results in damage to the lining of the small bowel which leads to poor absorption of nutrients. The symptoms of celiac disease include diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal cramping, gas and bloating. Some patients may develop anemia, osteoporosis (weak bones) and vitamin deficiencies due to inadequate absorption.

The diagnosis of celiac disease can be difficult and often delayed due to nonspecific symptoms which can be seen in several other conditions. A blood test can be used to check antibodies which are elevated in patients with untreated celiac disease. If celiac blood test is positive, then the diagnosis is confirmed by performing an upper endoscopy exam to examine and obtain tissue samples from the small bowel.

The treatment for celiac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. Even small amounts of gluten hidden in certain foods can aggravate symptoms.

Foods to AVOID in celiac disease: Wheat, barley, rye, bread, pasta, pizza, cereal, baked breakfast items (cakes, pastries, muffins, waffles, bagels, donuts, biscuits, brownies).

Gluten-free foods to EAT in celiac disease: Rice, corn, potato, soybeans, eggs, lentils, beans, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews), meat (chicken, beef, turkey and fish).

Consult you doctor or gastroenterologist if you have symptoms suggestive of celiac disease. It is advisable to get tested for celiac before trying a gluten-free diet.

If you have any questions, please contact us to schedule a consultation with celiac disease specialist Dr Arif and discuss your symptoms.


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Dr. Murtaza Arif

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