May is Celiac Awareness Month and here at Austin Gastro, we want you to love your guts. Dr. John Tsai answers some of the most common questions he gets from patients about celiac disease and gluten in a recent Facebook Live event.
Nearly 3 million Americans are affected by celiac disease and 18 million Americans can be affected by gluten sensitivity. Most of us know gluten and celiac disease go hand-in-hand, but what exactly is celiac disease and how does it differ from gluten sensitivity?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that damages the small intestine and hinders the absorption of nutrients in food. This means the body’s immune system attacks itself in response to gluten. According to Dr. Tsai, there are classic presentations of celiac disease, including weight loss, diarrhea, constipation and nausea, but it can have a wide variety of symptoms.
Gluten sensitivity does not cause damage to the small intestine but can trigger similar side effects when a person eats gluten.
Dr. Tsai warns that celiac disease can cause other health conditions outside of the gut, including osteoporosis, enema, depression, and infertility. He encourages patients living with celiac to continue regular checkups with your doctor to make sure the lining of the gut is healing, and you are not experiencing other complications.
Watch the Facebook Live video to hear Dr. Tsai discuss:
- What does gluten-free really mean?
- How do we test for celiac and who should be tested?
- Is celiac a genetic disease?
- Should you avoid gluten if you don’t have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity?
About Dr. John Tsai
Dr. John Tsai is a board-certified and fellowship-trained gastroenterologist, with subspecialties in IBD, nutrition, liver disease, and advanced endoscopic therapeutics (ERCP). Prior to joining Austin Gastro in 2017, he spent nine years in private practice in Tucson, Arizona.
Dr. Tsai completed his fellowship training in gastroenterology and nutrition at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He completed his residency training at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, and received his medical degree from Northwestern University.
Dr. Tsai is married with a young daughter. He is an avid fly-fisherman and poker player, and he enjoys reading the works of Ernest Hemmingway, playing the piano, and traveling with his wife. He is also proficient in Taiwanese. Dr. Tsai was selected as one of Austin’s Top Doctors for 2019 by Austin Monthly magazine.