Celiac Disease Support Group

LIVINGSTON, NJ - Celiac disease is a genetic disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. The disease affects 1% of people worldwide. However, more than two and a half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.

When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. This leads to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections promoting nutrient absorption that line the small intestine. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.

Treatment of celiac disease is exclusively through a strict, gluten-free diet. Gluten-free diet is crucial because even tiny amounts of gluten can cause damage. Remember: “One molecule of gliadin (gluten-active ingredient) can cause damage as a thousand molecules. Most patients report symptom improvement within a few weeks, although intestinal healing may take several years.

RWJBarnabas Health hosts monthly meetings of a Celiac Support Group. The next meeting is next Monday; 6:30 to 8:00 pm at the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston, Conference Room B. Julianne Chlodnicki, RD, Clinical Coordinator at The Kogan Celiac Center at Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center leads this group designed for sharing and exchanging ideas, recipes and tips on living a gluten-free lifestyle. Attendance is free. For more information, please call 973-322-7272.

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