Celiac disease is an inherited, inflammatory disease of the small bowel triggered
by gluten in the diet. It impairs small intestinal absorptive processes and may
have autoimmune consequences. If untreated, celiac disease can lead to anemia,
osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions, and cancer. There are over 200
signs and symptoms associated with celiac disease. Symptoms vary among sufferers and include:
- Digestive problems (abdominal bloating, pain, gas, diarrhea, pale stools, and weight loss.)
- A severe skin rash called dermatisis herpetiformis
- Iron deficiency anemia (low blood count)
- Musculoskeletal problems (muscle cramps, joint and bone pain)
Talk to your Family Health Centers provider if you suspect that you have symptoms associated with Celiac Disease. Your provider can order a test that will help determine if you need a referral to a Gastroenterologist.
If you or a family member are diagnosed with Celiac Disease, you are not alone. There are numerous resources online to help you understand and cope with the disease. Asheville, NC also has a local Gluten Intolerance Support Group (GIG), a non-profit organization that connects the Gluten-free community to valuable resources. Check out the Asheville Gluten Intolerance Group web site for more information as well as Gluten-free products, recipes and restaurant referrals.