Celiac Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and More

celiac disease

Do you know that Celiac Disease is a disease that makes to sensitive to gluten?

Celiac disease and sometimes called celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy is an immune reaction of your immune system to eating gluten.

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Moreover, if you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine.

Over time, this reaction damages the lining of the small intestines and prevents them from absorbing some nutrients.

Thus, leading to malabsorption.

This often leads to diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating, and anemia, and can lead to serious complications.

However, in the case of children, malabsorption can affect growth and development, other than causing the same symptoms as in adults.

There is no cure for this disease.

However, in most cases, following a strict gluten-free diet can help manage the symptoms and promote intestinal healing.

Keep on reading to learn more about it.

Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a digestive disorder that is triggered by an abnormal immune reaction to gluten.

Gluten is a protein found not only in wheat, barley, rye but also in oats that comes from processing plants that handle other grains.

Moreover, gluten is also present in some medicines, vitamins, and lipsticks.

Gluten intolerance or gluten-related disorders are characterized by symptoms after gluten-containing food items.

healthy vs. abnormal villiIn the case of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, individuals may face mild sensitivity to gluten.

While others have celiac disease which is an autoimmune disorder.

Furthermore, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, NIDDK, about 1 in 141 Americans have this disease.

Thus, with this disease, you need to eliminate all forms of gluten in your diet.

This includes bread products, baked goods, beer, and foods where gluten may be used as a stabilizing ingredient.

Symptoms of Celiac Disease

The signs and symptoms of celiac disease involve the intestines and digestive system.

However, they can also affect other parts of your body.

Children and adults tend to have different sets of symptoms.

Let’s discuss the symptoms in both.

Symptoms in Children

Children with celiac disease can often feel tired and irritable, and they may also be smaller than normal.

Moreover, they may experience delayed puberty. Some of the other signs and symptoms are:

Weight loss, vomiting, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, president diarrhea, or constipation, and pale, fatty, foul-smelling stools.

symptomsCelia Disease symptoms in Adults

As an adult, you may experience digestive symptoms.

In most cases, however, the symptoms can also affect other areas of your body. These include:

Iron deficiency anemia, joint pain, and stiffness.

Weak, brittle bones, fatigue, seizures, skin disorders, numbness, and tingling in the hands and feet.

Moreover, tooth discoloration or loss of enamel, pale sores inside the mouth, irregular menstrual periods, and infertility and miscarriage.

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Other Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease

One of the other symptoms of celiac disease is Dermatitis Herpetiformis, DH.

DH is an intensely itchy skin rash that is made of bumps and blisters.

Furthermore, it may develop on the elbows, buttocks, and knees.

This disease affects about 15 to 25% of individuals with Celiac Disease.

However, those who do experience DH usually do not have digestive symptoms.

One of the other important things to note is that symptoms can vary from one person to another.

This depends on a number of factors, including:

  • the length of time you were breastfed as an infant
  • the age you started eating foods like gluten
  • the amount of gluten you eat
  • the severity of intestinal damage

On the other hand, some individuals may have no symptoms.

However, they can still develop long-term complications as a result of this disease.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor right away if you suspect that you or your child has this disease, as untreated celiac disease can cause complications.

When you delay diagnosis and treatment, complications are more likely to develop.

Risk for Celiac Disease

Celiac disease runs in families. According to the University of Chicago Medical Center, people have a 1 in 22 chance of developing is this disease, if their parent or sibling has this condition.

If you have other autoimmune diseases and certain genetic disorders, you are also more likely to develop this condition.

celiac disease 1Some of the conditions associated with celiac disease include:

Lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, autoimmune liver disease, and Addison’s disease.

Moreover, there is a risk of developing Sjogren’s syndrome, Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, lactose intolerance, intestinal cancer, and intestinal lymphoma.

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Diagnosing Celiac Disease

Diagnosis for celiac disease includes a physical examination and medical history.

Moreover, your doctor will perform a number of tests to help confirm the diagnosis.

People will Celiac Disease will have high levels of antiendomysium, EMA, and anti-tissue transglutaminases, tTGA antibodies in their blood.

These can be detected with the help of blood tests.

Furthermore, tests are reliable when you still have gluten in your diet.

Some of the common blood tests are:

  • complete blood test, CBC
  • liver function test
  • cholesterol tests
  • alkaline phosphate level test
  •  serum albumin test

If you have DH, a skin biopsy can help your doctor to diagnose celiac disease.

celiac disease 2During a skin biopsy, they will remove tiny pieces of your skin tissue for examination with a microscope.

If the skin biopsy and blood tests results indicate celiac disease, an internal biopsy may not be required.

However, in cases where your blood tests or skin biopsy is inconclusive, your doctor will perform an upper endoscopy.

During this, they will insert a thin tube: Endoscope through your mouth, and down to the small intestines.

With the help of a small camera present at the end of the endoscope, they can examine your intestines and check for damage to the villi.

Furthermore, your doctor can also choose to perform an intestinal biopsy which involves the removal of a tissue sample from your intestines for analysis.

Treatment Options

The only treatment option for celiac disease is to permanently remove gluten from your diet.

This will allow the intestinal villi to heal and to begin absorbing nutrients properly.

Moreover, your doctor can teach and guide you on how to avoid gluten while following a nutritious and healthy diet.

They will also give your instructions on how to read food and product labels to avoid gluten products.

This will help you to identify any ingredients that contain gluten.

Symptoms often improve within days of removing gluten from your diet.

However, you should not stop eating gluten until your doctor makes a diagnosis.

Removing gluten prematurely can interfere with your test results and lead to an inaccurate diagnosis.

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Food Precautions

Maintaining a gluten-free diet is not an easy step, and thus, you will have to work hard.

Many companies are now making gluten-free products which are found at a number of grocery stores and specifically in food stores.

More importantly, these products will have a label on them that says” gluten-free”.

Moreover, if you have celiac disease, then it is important to know which foods are safe and which ones are harmful.

You should avoid wheat, spelt, rye, barley, triticale, bulgur, durum, farina, graham flour, and semolina.

Furthermore, avoid the food items unless that say gluten-free

Beer, bread, cakes and pies, candy, cereals, cookies, crackers, croutons, gravies, and imitation meats or seafood.

dietYou should also avoid oats, pasta, processed lunch meats, sausages, and hot dogs, salad dressings, sauces that also include soy sauce, self-basting poultry, and soups.

On the other hand, you can try these gluten-free grains and starches:

  • buckwheat
  • corm
  • amaranth
  • arrowroot
  • cornmeal
  • flour that comes from rice, corn, soy, potatoes, or beans
  • quinoa
  • rice
  • pure corn tortillas
  • tapioca

While healthy gluten-free foods are:

Fresh meats, fish, poultry that has not been breaded, coated, or marinated.

Fruit, most forms of dairy products, rice, beans, and lentils.

Starchy vegetables like peas, potatoes, including sweet potatoes, and corn,

Vegetables, wine, distilled liquors, ciders, and spirits.

It is important to note that your symptoms will improve within days to weeks of making these dietary changes.

In children, the intestine often heals in 3 to 6 months. Intestinal healing may take a few years in adults, however.

Once the intestines heal completely, your body will be able to absorb nutrients properly.

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Complications and Outlook

In case you have celiac disease, repeated exposure to gluten will damage your intestinal lining.

This can result in nutrient deficiencies that cause issues like:

  • anemia
  • hair loss
  • osteoporosis
  • small bowel ulcers

Researchers are of the view that celiac disease with some types of cancer like lymphoma can also cause complications.

This often develops in white blood cells present in your bloodstream.

However, this association is rare, and with celiac disease, you will never develop related cancer.

A gluten-free diet can help to reduce such risks.

In some cases, individuals may develop refractory celiac disease. This is a condition that involves your body not responding to a gluten-free diet for 12 months or more.

However, this is rare and affects about 1 to 2% of individuals with celiac disease. On the other hand, those who may have are always over 50 years of age.

There is no cure for celiac disease, however, you can ease or relieve the symptom by switching to a gluten-free diet.

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