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SSM Health Medical Minute – Treating Celiac Disease

ST. LOUIS - Celiac disease is a common autoimmune disorder that can occur with the consumption of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It’s a bowel syndrome that can cause vitamin deficiencies, growth problems, and infertility. When people with celiac disease eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley, an immune response attacks the small intestine.

Celiac disease is hereditary, meaning that it runs in families. People with a first-degree relative with celiac disease have a 1 in 10 risk of developing it as well. Symptoms can include anemia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating vomiting or weight gain/loss and also infertility.

Dr. Ruben Aymerich, a gastroenterologist at SSM Health Medical Group, specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases. He says a proper diagnosis can only be made by a physician and includes a celiac panel blood test and an endoscopic biopsy of the small intestine.

Currently, the only treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. People living with celiac disease must avoid foods with wheat, rye, and barley, such as bread and beer but also hidden in many other foods listed below:

Wheat is commonly found in: breads, baked goods, soups, pasta, cereals, sauces, salad dressings, and roux

Barley is commonly found in malt (malted barley flour, malted milk, and milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, malt vinegar), food coloring, soups, beer, and brewer’s yeast

Rye is commonly found in: rye, rye bread (such as pumpernickel), rye beer, and cereals

For more information about treating celiac disease, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Thursday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.