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Celiac Disease and living with the condition

Suffers of celiac disease have difficulty absorbing the protein gluten which is found in foods like barley, rye or wheat. When gluten is consumed an individual’s autoimmune system goes to work reacting to the protein, inflaming the lining in the intestines and decreasing the absorption of vital nutrients. What symptoms are you likely to suffer from if you have celiac disease: diarrhea, upset stomach, abdominal pain, malnutrition, weight loss and bloating.

Can celiac disease be controlled?

Unlike many severe disorders which do not have a cure, if you have celiac disease there is a great chance you can control the condition if you are willing to eat a gluten-free diet. If you eat the right foods the intestines begin to heal within a few days and may be completely healed within 3 to 13 months. The bad news is if you have exposure to gluten, meaning you are not religiously following a gluten-free diet, you can trigger a recurrence of the symptoms listed above.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300"]Biopsy of small bowel showing coeliac disease ... Biopsy of small bowel showing coeliac disease manifested by blunting of villi, crypt hyperplasia, and lymphocyte infiltration of crypts, consistent with Marsh classification III. Released into public domain on permission of patient. -- Samir ???? 11:23, 13 August 2006 (UTC) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)[/caption]

What can I eat if I suffer from celiac disease?

The good news is celiac disease suffers can eat a wide variety of food. For instance, you can eat grains, flours and cereals but you will have to avoid wheat, rye, or barley breads, bread crumbs, pasta, noodles, spelt, semolina, kamut, triticale, couscous, bulgur, farina, unidentified starches or fillers and most commercial cereals.

So what types can you eat? You can eat gluten-free pastas and breads, plain rice, sweet potatoes, soybeans, quinoa, oats (which are not contaminated with wheat, barley, or rye during harvesting, transportation, storage, milling, and processing), cornstarch, and tapioca.

Celiac disease suffers should avoid a variety of meats and poultry such as commercially prepared fresh or frozen meat and main dishes, lunch meats, and sausages, but they can eat fresh meat, poultry and fish.

If you like alcohol you should avoid beer, ale and stout, but you can drink wine, light rum and potato vodka.

Cross contamination and Celiac Disease

Celiac disease sufferers should also be aware of cross-contamination. This can occur if a gluten-free product has contact with another product which is not gluten-free. There are a variety of ways to avoid this issue such as using separate containers for different types of foods and not using the same silverware to serve different foods.

You also may need to ask food preparers how food was prepared, and if you are eating at someone’s house warn them ahead of time about your condition and see if arrangements can be made to prevent contamination.

Celiac Disease and SSDI benefits

SSDI or Social Security Disability Insurance is offered to claimants who have a severe health condition which does not allow them to work for at least 12 continuous months. To win benefits for celiac disease you will have to prove your condition cannot be controlled with diet modifications or treatment and you continue to suffer from extreme weight loss and other symptoms which are so severe you cannot work.
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