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What is Celiac Disease?

May is celiac disease awareness month

Todd Sheer, MD, gastroenterologist at The Austin Diagnostic Main Clinic visited with KXANs Erin Cargile to explain what you need to know about celiac disease.   Celiac disease affects men, women and children of all ages and ethnicities.  It can develop at any time.  The disease is hereditary so, if your parents have the disease, Dr. Sheer says it’s a good idea to get tested even if you are not presenting symptoms.

What is celiac disease?

  • a digestive disease that damages the small intestine
  • interferes with the absorption of nutrients
  • causes the body to attack itself every time gluten enters your system
  • gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye

Celiac symptoms can include:

  • diarrhea
  • weight loss
  • bone density loss
  • headaches

Dr. Sheer emphasizes that a gluten-free diet is difficult to maintain, despite the fact that there are so many gluten-free products on the market.  Those who suffer with celiac disease must avoid gluten – including not sharing toasters or being aware of how food is being prepared in restaurants.

What can you eat?

  • beans
  • eggs
  • meat
  • fruit and vegetables