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Celiac Disease Finally Getting Attention

For a long time, celiac disease--the inability to absorb nutrients--has confounded doctors and patients. Lately, it's received some much-needed attention. In late June, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) held a consensus conference on celiac disease, an autoimmune condition--not an allergy, a common misperception--that's triggered in genetically predisposed individuals by the ingestion of gluten.

That experts discussed and then issued a formal statement related to celiac's prevalence, symptoms, diagnosis, management and future research needs at the conference, was a milestone of sorts. So are forthcoming clinical practice guidelines from the North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition.

Celiac affects more than one system in the body, so such symptoms as anemia, arthritis, osteoporosis, anxiety, depression and infertility or recurrent miscarriages in addition to gastrointestinal symptoms can be hard to piece together. It's often misdiagnosed or missed entirely by doctors. Yet it's more common than previously thought.

Because recent studies have shown celiac disease affects one out of every 33 patients, most of you would benefit greatly by eliminating grains from your diet.

Chicago Tribune July 18, 2004

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