CHICAGO, May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Celiac disease is estimated to
affect one out of 141 of Americans, or just under 1 percent of the population.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages Americans to learn about
celiac disease - it can affect your health or someone you love.
What is celiac disease? It is a hereditary, autoimmune disease caused by
intolerance to the food protein, gluten - which is found in wheat, barley and
rye. When people with celiac disease eat gluten-containing foods, the lining of
the small intestine is damaged and eventually destroyed, preventing nutrients
from being absorbed adequately. Untreated, celiac disease can lead to
nutritional deficiencies, including anemia and osteoporosis, as well as other
conditions, including other autoimmune diseases, intestinal cancers,
infertility, delayed growth in children and failure to thrive in infants.
"While the only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, the good
news is, once the diet is started, the road to recover begins, and people with
celiac disease can lead long, healthy lives," says registered dietitian
nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Rachel Begun. "Managing celiac disease is
not just about eliminating gluten from your diet. It also entails ensuring you
get all the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, such as iron, calcium, fiber
and B-vitamins like thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and folate."
An accurate diagnosis for celiac disease is a vital part of restoring health.
Symptoms of celiac disease include bloating, gas or abdominal pain, chronic
diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, itchy skin rash, tingling in hands and feet,
delayed growth or fractured or thin bones. Some people are asymptomatic, meaning
they do not experience any of these symptoms. If you or a loved one experience
any of these conditions, it may be an indication of celiac disease.
"Do not diagnose yourself. If you have any symptoms, talk with your health care
provider and get tested," Begun says. "It's important to keep eating a normal
gluten-containing diet while being tested to ensure an accurate diagnosis. If
you are diagnosed with celiac disease, a registered dietitian nutritionist will
help you understand which foods are safe to eat and ensure you are getting the
important nutrients your body needs."
Many healthy foods are naturally gluten-free, such as fruits, vegetables, lean
meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, legumes, soy, nuts, as well as the grains
amaranth, buckwheat, corn, rice, teff and quinoa. Plus, there are a number of
gluten-free flours made from almond meal, chickpeas and garbanzo beans, brown
rice, coconut, potato, sorghum, tapioca and white rice.
For more information on celiac disease take a look at the Academy's Celiac
Disease resources, as well as the up-to-date, handy Gluten Detective App, which
can simplify gluten-free grocery shopping, as well tips and tools to access on
Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org to locate a
registered dietitian in your area.
All registered dietitians are nutritionists - but not all nutritionists are
registered dietitians. The Academy's Board of Directors and Commission on
Dietetic Registration have determined that those who hold the credential
registered dietitian (RD) may optionally use "registered dietitian nutritionist"
(RDN) instead. The two credentials have identical meanings.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic
Association) is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition
professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and
advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.
Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at www.eatright.org.
SOURCE Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics