Do you suspect that you or someone you know may have celiac disease? As an adult, it can be difficult to determine if the gastrointestinal distress experienced is due to something as common and treatable as celiac disease.
To help provide better insight into this condition, this blog post will break down what exactly is considered a celiac disease, its symptoms, and potential treatments in a straightforward, clinical manner. Dive deep into all of the facts about celiac so that you can identify if you are dealing with more than just occasional digestive discomfort.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the digestive system. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye and is used as an additive in many processed foods. When a person with celiac disease consumes foods containing gluten, an immune response is triggered, which causes damage to the small intestine.
For people with celiac disease, consuming gluten can cause many symptoms, including abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, irritability, and depression. In some cases, it can also lead to more serious health problems, such as vitamin deficiencies and malabsorption of nutrients. To manage the condition and prevent further medical complications, it is important for those diagnosed with celiac disease to follow a strict gluten-free diet with no exceptions.
Although the celiac disease has no known cure at this time, there are treatments available that can help manage its symptoms. These include following a gluten-free diet and taking supplemental vitamins and minerals to ensure proper nutrition if malabsorption occurs due to the condition. Additionally, support groups are available for those living with celiac disease, providing educational resources on how to live a healthy lifestyle while managing the condition.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten consumption, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye. This disorder causes damage to the small intestine and impedes the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food. Symptoms of celiac disease can vary greatly in severity and range from mild abdominal discomfort to extreme malnourishment.
The most common symptoms include chronic diarrhea or constipation, bloating, gas, fatigue, weight loss, anemia, irritability or depression, pale or oily stools that float in the toilet bowl, a rash called dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), missed menstrual periods in women and fertility issues.
Other non-gastrointestinal symptoms may include headaches, joint pain and swelling (arthritis), chronic mouth ulcers, dental enamel defects of the permanent teeth, tingling numbness in the legs (peripheral neuropathy), delayed growth, and delayed puberty in children under three years old with classic celiac disease symptoms like failure to thrive or poor growth often present as well.
If you believe you may have celiac disease, it is important to see your doctor for testing as soon as possible. You will likely need a blood test that screens for antibodies typically produced when someone with celiac disease ingests gluten. If this test comes back positive, then a small intestine biopsy will be necessary to confirm your diagnosis since other tests can produce false positive results.
Upon receiving a positive diagnosis of celiac disease, it is essential to begin following a strict gluten-free diet which will help relieve symptoms over time and allow for proper nutrient absorption within your body. In addition to following a gluten-free diet, patients are encouraged to make lifestyle changes, such as getting more exercise and reducing stress levels, which can further improve symptom management. By doing so, you can ensure that you remain healthy despite having this condition.
Causes of Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting the digestive system of people with gluten sensitivity. It occurs when the body mistakenly attacks its tissues, in this case, the small intestine.
When someone with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of their small intestine and preventing it from absorbing vital nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition, anemia, and other serious health problems. The only way to manage celiac disease is to completely remove all sources of gluten from one’s diet.
The exact cause of celiac disease remains unknown; however, certain genetic factors may contribute to its development. People with certain gene variations known as HLA-DQ2/DQ8 are more likely to develop celiac disease than those without these gene variants.
Additionally, environmental triggers such as stress or viral infections have been linked to the onset of symptoms in some people who already have one of these gene variants. However, it is important to note that even if you have a genetic predisposition for developing celiac disease, you may only actually develop it if your body is exposed to a triggering environmental factor simultaneously.
Given the complexity and diversity of causes associated with celiac disease, there is no single “cure” for this condition. The best way to manage it is through maintaining a strict gluten-free diet for life and monitoring for potential nutritional deficiencies caused by malabsorption due to damage in the small intestine. Furthermore, regular medical checkups are recommended for those with celiac disease to monitor any potential complications related to their condition and ensure they get all the necessary nutrients from their dietary choices.
Diagnosing and Treating Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can severely impact an individual’s health. An intolerance causes gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. People with celiac disease cannot properly digest these proteins, leading to inflammation of the small intestine and digestive symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea. In addition to GI symptoms, celiac disease can lead to other medical problems such as weight loss, fatigue, anemia, bone and joint pain, infertility, and even certain types of cancer.
Diagnosing celiac disease can be difficult because the symptoms vary greatly from person to person. For this reason, it is important to work with a doctor or gastroenterologist if you are experiencing any gastrointestinal issues or other symptoms that could be related to celiac disease.
The most common method for diagnosing this condition is through blood tests that measure antibodies associated with gluten sensitivity. If the results of these tests show that you may have celiac disease, then additional testing such as endoscopy or biopsy may be necessary for further confirmation of the diagnosis.
Once someone has been diagnosed with celiac disease, their treatment plan will focus on avoiding gluten. This means removing all sources of wheat, barley, and rye from their meals which can be difficult but fortunately, there are many gluten-free alternatives available now that make sticking to a strict diet easier than ever before. It is also important for people with celiac disease to avoid cross-contamination, which means being careful when eating out or preparing food at home to avoid accidentally adding gluten to their meals.
Proper diagnosis and adherence to dietary guidelines make it possible for those with celiac disease to reduce their symptoms and maintain good health overall.
Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Symptoms of celiac disease may include bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss. If you are experiencing these symptoms or think you may have celiac disease, consult your doctor. There are blood tests and intestinal biopsies which can help diagnose the condition.
The only treatment currently available for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet. This means avoiding foods containing wheat, rye, and barley, such as bread, pasta, snacks, and cereals. With awareness about Celiac Disease on the rise and more products made without gluten ingredients, it has become easier to adhere to this lifestyle change. For more information about Celiac Disease, visit consulted websites for credible sources.