Managing Celiac Disease

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Many Americans have decided to curb or even eliminate gluten from their diets because it makes them feel better.

But there’s one group of people that needs a gluten free diet.

Lisa Vasile spent much of her life feeling lousy.

“Lot of bloating, had headaches all the time,” she said.

About ten years ago, her sister was diagnosed with celiac disease, a genetic disorder in which part of the small intestine becomes inflamed, as a result of eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and other grains.

Dr. John Garber co-directs the adult celiac disease program at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital.

He says the number of patients diagnosed with celiac disease is soaring.

“The fact that we’re seeing this dramatic increase in the incidence of this disease really indicates that we’re sort of in the middle of a slow kind of simmering epidemic,” he said.

Celiac disease differs from simple gluten intolerance.

It’s classified as an auto-immune disorder in which the body attacks and damages part of the small intestine, including the duodenum, when gluten is ingested.

One treatment option is simple, but not necessarily easy. Cut gluten from the diet.

It worked for Vasile. Two weeks after modifying her diet, she felt much better.

“It’s just food. You don’t have to take a bunch of pills. You don’t have to have surgery, and it completely changed my life,” she said.

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