An estimated 3 million Americans are living with Celiac Disease, and 83% don’t even know they have the disease. That’s a staggering statistic, especially with all of the noise on the market promoting gluten-free foods and beverages. According to an article from Food Navigator, “Mintel, which has one of the broadest definitions [of gluten-free], pegs the market at a whopping $10.5 billion in 2013” and anticipates an increase to $15.6 billion by 2016.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food (see image). The consumption of gluten also aggravates the small intestines creating chronic inflammation. Gluten is found primarily in wheat, barley, and rye. (Gluten may show up in unlikely places like salad dressings, Ketchup, BBQ Sauce, etc.) If left untreated, people can develop further complications such as anemia, vitamin deficiencies, osteoporosis, and cancer. Villi, minuscule finger-like projections, get worn down or blunted and become ineffective in absorbing nutrients.
There’s a genetic component to developing celiac disease, but it isn’t always the case. If you’re unsure about how your dietary habits could be related to a possible gluten intolerance, review these symptoms of Celiac Disease. For some people, the disease shows up early in life, while others don’t experience symptoms until they are well into adulthood. Then there are asymptomatic people who show no symptoms despite having the disease.
May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month and a great time to inquire about your own health. Links are posted below for your convenience in researching additional information.
Testing for Celiac Disease
Testing for Celiac involves two blood tests that measure antibodies and the immune response to gluten. These tests have a track record of being over 95% accurate. If test results are positive, an upper endoscopy procedure will follow to secure a small biopsy of the villi in the small intestines to confirm the diagnosis and the extent of damage and severity of the disease. An accurate diagnosis is very important as patients will be changing their eating habits for the rest of their lives.
If you or someone you know has Celiac Disease, or would like to be tested, you can call our offices at (801) 619-9000, or visit our website for more information: www.GranitePeaksGI.com. You can also book an appointment by clicking here. We are able to see patients within just a few days, no referral is necessary! Granite Peaks also takes all insurance plans, and self-pay patients.