Celiac Awareness Month

By Robert D. Liken CPC, CTS, President

April 21, 2016

Caregiver in Upper St. Clair PA

May is Celiac Awareness Month, the perfect opportunity for you to make learning more about this often misunderstood disease and how it can impact your aging parent part of your caregiver Caregiver-in-Upper-St.-Clair-PAjourney. It is important to note that Celiac disease is not the same thing as a gluten sensitivity. While those with Celiac are sensitive to gluten, not all people who cannot tolerate gluten or who feel that gluten somehow negatively impacts their health have Celiac. Making a distinction between the two makes a dramatic difference in your ability to understand the disease and its true effect on health.
Some things that you should know about Celiac disease include:

  • This is an autoimmune disorder impacting the small intestine
  • Gluten is a protein that is naturally found in grains such as rye, barley, and wheat, and is what gives baked goods their texture
  • Wheat gluten is sometimes used as a meat substitute in the form of seitan, which can be prepared in much the same way as meats such as chicken or beef are prepared
  • Approximately 1 in 100 people has Celiac
  • It is estimated that around two and a half million people in the United States alone have the disease but do not know it, putting them at serious risk of long-term health concerns
  • Celiac is a hereditary disease. A person with a parent or sibling that has it has a 1 in 10 chance of developing the disease

When a person with this disorder consumes a food or beverage with gluten, the body creates an immune response, attacking the small intestine. This then leads to damage to the small projections along the lining of the intestine called villi. These villi are instrumental in the absorption of nutrients from food. Once damaged, the villi are not able to properly absorb nutrients. This can lead to the person becoming seriously malnourished, suffering from specific nutrient deficiencies, and being at far increased risk of a variety of serious health complications.
Some of the health complications that can arise due to Celiac include:

  • Anemia
  • Early onset osteoporosis
  • Gall bladder malfunction
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Myopathy

One of the most serious potential complications of Celiac is the increased risk of developing other autoimmune disorders throughout life. The risk of developing another condition increases dramatically with the age of Celiac onset, that is the age at which a person was when they were diagnosed with the disease. For an elderly adult, the chances of developing another autoimmune disorder are nearly 35 percent.
Some of the other autoimmune disorders that your elderly adult could develop include:

  • Anemia
  • Liver disease
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Gluten ataxia
  • Lymphocytic colitis
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Microscopic colitis
  • Primary bilary cirrhosis

If you are concerned that your elderly parent might have Celiac, do not hesitate to get them into their doctor for an exam. The sooner that your parent understands their condition, the sooner that they can make the necessary life changes to manage the condition and limit the damage done to their body.

If you or an aging loved one are considering caregiver services in Upper St. Clair, PA, please contact the friendly staff at Liken Home Care.  Call (412) 693-6820 or (855) 856-0551

Source:  https://celiac.org/blog/2014/04/celiac-disease-foundation-celebrates-may-celiac-awareness-month-7-day-gluten-free-meal-plan-team-gluten-free-challenge/