Celiac Disease: A Case Study

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Introduction

Celiac disease is not considered a food allergy1 but rather considered an autoimmune disorder that will affect the villi which can cause malabsorption in the gastrointestinal tract.2 In general, the villi will help absorb the nutrients from the food. When eating gluten, the villi in the small intestine will become inflamed. When the villi are not working properly nutrient deficiencies will be a result which is also malabsorption.1 Gluten is in a lot of foods that athletes eat when they are preparing for a big event. Some of the more common foods that gluten is found in are pasta, bread, wheat products, cereal and more, some of the more uncommon foods that gluten is found in are soy sauce, pie fillings, deli meat and canned foods.1
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The symptoms of celiac disease include but are not limited to: chronic diarrhea, abdominal bloating, malnutrition/failure to thrive, vomiting, anemia, abdominal cramping, abdominal pain, myalgia (pain in muscle or group of muscles), arthralgia (pain in a joint), osteopenia(bone density lower than normal)/osteoporosis (thinning bones), menstrual irregularities, irritability, constipation, short stature, dermatitis herpetiformis, lactose intolerance, etc.1,2,4,5,6,7,8 A couple of the more uncommon signs and symptoms that are seen are a rash that consists of papules, a rapid decrease in body weight, and fatigue.7 Some of the gastrointestinal disorders it could be confused with are due to the similar symptoms are: infectious mononucleosis, lactose intolerance, dyspepsia which is indigestion, irritable bowel disease, eating disorder, depression, diverticular disease, Crohn 's disease, fibromyalgia, iron- deficiency anemia, hypo/hyperthyroidism, and food allergies.2,7 To be diagnosed with celiac disease the clinician will do a blood test and screen for different antibodies.1 Another test that the Physicians will do is a biopsy of the small intestine. The individual 's clinician may ask them to go on a gluten free diet before they do either of those two tests, as the biopsy is very invasive. Since going on a …show more content…
Though a gluten free diet can help the athlete feel better there are some negatives to it. Some of the negatives are: the restrictive nature, risk suboptimal nutrient intake, increase difficulty obtaining optimal food while traveling, potential diminution of beneficial gut bacteria, and increased food cost.5 Hidden sources of gluten are also a significant problem that athletes may not know about when they are going on a gluten free diet. The athlete should also look at who manufactures that food or medication as it may not have gluten in it directly, but could have traces of gluten on it from being made in the same machine that will also make something with gluten in it. One type of food that some people may not know that contains gluten is shredded cheese. The companies that manufacture it add flour in to prevent the cheese from sticking to itself. Manufacturers will not list that their food contains gluten if it is such a small amount because it is not mandated by the Food and Drug Administration. The athlete should always check the food that they are buying and if it says gluten free then it is safe to buy. These athletes should be taught how to read food labels properly by a physician, athletic trainer, or any sports medicine

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