How is celiac disease treated?
The key to proper management of celiac disease is adopting a gluten-free diet. Gluten is a naturally occurring protein found mainly in wheat, rye and barley. It is therefore present in many of the food we eat including cereals, pasta, bread, cakes, pie and beer. In fact, unless specifically stated to be gluten-free, many food and health supplements may contain various amounts of gluten.
Being a genetically linked immune disorder, celiac disease is triggered by the ingestion of food which contain gluten. This may result in degeneration of the small intestinal mucosal layer thereby affecting its overall absorption function. Common presentations of celiac disease range from bloating, cramps and diarrhoea to severe weight loss and malabsorption.
The good news is many of the above symptoms improve when gluten is eliminated from the diet. In fact, having a strict gluten-free diet is the cornerstone in managing this condition. There is, however, a practical problem in adopting such a diet since gluten is found in almost all the food we consume daily. This is also one of the common reasons for the disease to relapse.
- Dr Quan