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African American Health

Problems with Celiac Disease for Blacks?

11/10/2010

Question:

Hello. Through a small bowel biopsy, I was just diagnosed to have Celiac Disease. As an African American women, are there more problems that I should be on the look out for? I understand that my diet has to change to a gluten free diet, but that`s the extent of my knowledge.

Answer:

There is not anything that you have to do based on your race.

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease (when the body's defense system attacks or reacts to itself as if it were foreign) in which the lining of the small intesting becomes inflamed and damaged due to a reaction to gluten and proteins found in wheat, barely, rye and some oats. We are not certain as to what causes celiac to occur.

There are some tests that the doctors can do to diagnose it such as you had done. Most cases can be treated with eliminating wheat, gluten, barely and rye from the diet. In more severe cases medications can be used.

There are many stores now that sell gluten free products and most labels on foods now are pretty good with identifying wheat and gluten. Definitely become a strict label reader.

For more information:

Go to the African American Health health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Esa M Davis, MD, MPH Esa M Davis, MD, MPH
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University