May is Celiac Awareness Month

Chances are you know someone with Celiac disease. This autoimmune condition affects 1 out of every 133 Americans. This disease occurs because of a body’s inability to absorb foods properly. This is due to a toxic reaction caused by gluten which, in turn, actually damages the small intestine. Gluten is found in all forms of wheat, so any product containing wheat must be avoided.

The most common symptoms of Celiac disease are:

-Abdominal cramping, intestinal gas

-Distention and bloating of the stomach

-Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)

-Steatorrhea (fatty stools)

-Anemia – unexplained, due to folic acid, B12 or iron deficiency (or all)

-Unexplained weight loss with large appetite or weight gain

Other symptoms may include:

-Dental enamel defects

-Osteopenia, osteoporosis

-Bone or joint pain

-Fatigue, weakness and lack of energy

-Infertility – male/female

-Depression

-Mouth ulcers

-Delayed puberty

-Tingling or numbness in hands or feet

-Migraine headaches

Check out the Celiac Disease Foundation for more information. Publix has a shopping list for those on a gluten-free diet, and most restaurants actually have a gluten-free menu from which you can order.

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