August 16, 2006

MRH Offers Support Group for Those with Celiac Disease

The Maury Regional Hospital Gluten Free Support Group will meet on Tuesday, August 29, at 6:00 p.m. Laura Hill will share information about using a bread machine and making delicious gluten free bread from a bread mix.  This free program will be held in the new Maury Regional Physical Therapy Center, located at 858 West James Campbell Boulevard. 

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, one of every 133 people in America live with celiac disease, a digestive disease triggered by the protein gluten found in wheat, barley, and rye.  Gluten damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.  When people with celiac disease eat foods with gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine.


The specific cause of celiac disease in unknown; however, there is a genetic link, so it tends to affect several members of families.  Sometimes the disease is triggered—or becomes active for the first time—after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth or viral infection. Symptoms include:

  • abdominal cramping, intestinal gas, distention and bloating
  • chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
  • steatorrhea (fatty stools)
  • unexplained anemia
  • weight loss with large appetite, or weight gain
  • delayed growth
  • failure to thrive in infants  


The cornerstone of treatment is a gluten-free diet in which all foods that contain wheat, rye, and barley are avoided.  These foods include most grains, pasta, cereal, and many processed foods.  When gluten is removed from the diet, the small intestine will start to heal and overall health improves. 


To find out more about celiac disease or the Maury Regional Gluten Free Support Group, call 931.381.1111, extension 1275.





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