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Celiac Disease 

Consumers check the products for fat, calories and carbs, but for some, reading labels is about more than counting calories. TV 5’s Kristen LaVerghetta spoke with a group of people who literally live by the label.
Suffering from a chronic illness is very difficult, and sometimes the treatment can be worse than the disease. For some, like Ann Delaware, the hardest part is getting a diagnosis.
Ann Delaware was down to 112 pounds, and couldn’t eat anything without getting sick. She spent two years visiting doctors and trying treatments that didn’t work before she finally got a diagnosis she could live with.
&quot:Dr. Hunter in Bangor, looked at me and said, You have Celiac Sprue, and I said, Naw – I don’t have that.&quot:
Delaware has what’s known as Celiac disease.
&quot:It’s interesting because it’s one of the rare autoimmune diseases we know the trigger of, and the trigger is an allergy to a protein, specifically a protein that is in wheat, barley and oats.&quot:
That protein is gluten – people with Celiac Disease are missing the enzyme that breaks it down, so they’re unable to properly digest foods like wheat, barley, and rye.
&quot:When a patient eats that forbidden food, their small intestine becomes sick and what that results in is diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss.&quot:
Recently the number of people diagnosed with the disease has gone up. Studies show 1 in 133 people in the U-S has celiac disease.
&quot:In the last 5 years I have seen double the number, oh more than double, the number of patients who’ve been diagnosed. I think the doctors are trying very hard. It’s hard to discriminate between irritable bowel, crones, and Celiac.&quot:
Celiac Disease is genetic, meaning it runs in families. It can remain silent for years.
&quot:Very frequently it doesn’t manifest itself until one gets up, maybe 40 or 50 years old.&quot:
Infants with Celiac Disease often have trouble gaining weight and don’t grow normally, children often have an iron deficiency, may be anemic, or appear malnourished. A simple blood is most commonly done to get a confirmed diagnosis for celiac disease.

&quot:Celiac Disease, I think is a wonderful disease, because it’s an autoimmune disease, and it’s one of the only ones we know what triggers it and the treatment is not surgery, it’s not pills, it’s simple – it’s avoiding wheat.&quot:
A gluten free diet is the cure for Celiac disease. Ann’s been doing that for 15 years, and is completely symptom free! She runs a local support group for those living with the disease, and teaches people on how to live a gluten free life.
Gluten is in many foods, like bread and pasta, but it’s possible to eat the foods you love – even at restaurants – and stay on a gluten free diet. Tomorrow night, find out how Ann and others do that without sacrificing their favorite foods.