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Private MD Lab Services offers the following panel for Celiac disease:
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Celiac disease is a chronic digestive problem that affects the lining of the small intestine and blocks absorption of nutrients from food. If this disease is not diagnosed and treated, it can lead to malnutrition and other serious problems.
Celiac disease is thought to be a hereditary, autoimmune disorder. If you have celiac disease, your body has a reaction to a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye grains. When you eat gluten, your immune system responds by attacking the part of the small intestine that is responsible for absorbing nutrients.
The symptoms can vary greatly from one person to the next, ranging from digestive problems such as diarrhea and cramping to a skin rash or an irritable mood. Common symptoms may include the following:
Some people have no symptoms.
Once considered rare, celiac disease is now being diagnosed much more often. It used to be hard to diagnose because many of the symptoms are like the symptoms of other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, or intestinal infections. Recently it was found that people with celiac disease have a higher level of certain antibodies in their blood. This means a simple blood test for these antibodies can now help with the diagnosis. Before having this test, you will be asked to eat your usual diet and continue to eat foods that contain gluten, such as bread. If you avoid foods containing gluten before the test, it may come up negative even if you have the disease. If your test is positive for the antibodies and you have symptoms, you may need a biopsy of your small intestine. A biopsy is the removal of a tiny piece of the intestine. The sample of intestine is examined for signs of celiac disease.
The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet. For most people, following the diet relieves the symptoms in a few weeks. The gluten-free diet allows the intestine to heal and prevents any further damage. Typically, in children and young adults, the bowel may be completely healed 3 to 6 months after you start the diet. In older adults, the healing may take up to a few years.
In some cases you may keep having symptoms even though you are eating a gluten-free diet. This may be caused by having a small amount of gluten still in your diet, or the intestine may have been too damaged before you started the diet. This is called unresponsive celiac disease.
A gluten-free diet is one that contains no wheat (including spelt, Triticale, and kamut), barley, or rye. It also does not include products that use additives containing gluten, such as some vitamins, medicines, and stamp or envelope adhesives. Because the American diet is based on grains and many processed foods contain grain-based additives, this diet can be hard to follow. You may need to talk to a dietitian who knows about gluten-free diets and treating celiac disease. You will need to have follow-up visits with the dietitian to check your diet and get help in staying up-to-date on gluten-free food products.
At first, gluten-free diet recommendations can be overwhelming. Keep it simple until you have had a chance to meet with your dietitian. Fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, and unprocessed protein foods such as fresh beef, pork, poultry, fish, and eggs do not contain gluten. Natural nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils (without additives) can also be included safely. Add in foods from the allowed starches and grains listed below for a balanced diet.
The list of choices for gluten-free foods is growing. Below are some acceptable foods as well as foods you need to avoid. The lists are not complete. Consult your dietitian and recommended Web sites for more detailed information.
Allowed starches and grains:
Allowed fruits and vegetables:
Allowed milk products:
Allowed meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dried beans, nuts and seeds:
Allowed fats, sweets, and drinks:
Listed below are some foods you need to avoid. The lists are not complete. Consult your dietitian and recommended Web sites for more detailed information.
Starches and grains to avoid:
It should be noted that whether or not to include oats in the gluten-free diet is still being debated. Oats are often harvested and processed with wheat or barley, making it likely that bits of wheat or barley will be in the oats. However, much of the new research is pointing toward oats being safe as long as the oats are not contaminated with other, unsafe grains. It is possible now to buy pure oat products. Always consult with your health care provider or dietitian before you include oats in your diet.
Fruits and vegetables to avoid:
Milk products to avoid:
Meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dried beans, nuts and seeds to avoid:
Fats, sweets and drinks to avoid:
There are many hidden sources of gluten, so learning to read labels is a must. Ingredients that carry possible risk include:
If you have any question about the ingredients of a food, you should avoid the product or contact the food manufacturer for more information. Many companies, such as Campbell Soup and Frito-Lay, will send you a list of their gluten-free products.
Some medicines and supplements contain gluten additives. It is important to ask your pharmacist or call the manufacturer to find out about the specific ingredients in your medicine. The risk for vitamin deficiency, especially B vitamins, is greater in people with active celiac disease, so you may need vitamin supplements while you are having symptoms. In this case a prescription for a gluten-free vitamin and mineral supplement is important. Usually you are able to stop the vitamins when your symptoms go away on the gluten-free diet.
People following a gluten-free diet must be very careful when eating at a restaurant or deli.
You must follow the gluten-free diet all your life. If you keep eating foods that contain gluten, the condition can become life threatening.
Keep your checkup appointments on the schedule recommended by your health care provider. See your health care provider sooner, if you are having symptoms again.
For more information about the gluten-free diet and available gluten-free products, see
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