What is Celiac disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disorder that is caused due to the overreaction of the immune system mainly due to gluten. It is also known as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, sprue, and nontropical sprue. Gluten is found in foods like barley, wheat, triticale, and rye. It is a protein and makes the food sticky and chewy. Intolerance to gluten makes the body incapable of breaking down and digesting gluten. Some have a mild sensitivity to it while a few others suffer from celiac disease. In this disease, the presence of gluten triggers an immune response to destroy villi. When that happens the body can’t absorb nutrients from the consumed food.
Celiac disease Symptoms
The symptoms depend on the type of Celiac disease. It differs in adults and children. Symptoms in Adults:
- Stiffness and joint pain
- Brittle and weak bones
- Skin disorders
- Irregular menstrual periods and/or infertility
- Lose of enamel or discoloration of tooth
- Tingling in hands and feet, numbness
- Mouth sores
Symptoms in Children
Kids with this condition are often tired and irritable. They may also have a delay in growth and development along with symptoms like:
- Frequent diarrhea which is foul-smelling and stale
- Abdominal pain and bloating
- Weight loss
Some people may also have symptoms like itchy skin, fatty liver, headaches, cognitive impairment, or hyposplenism. For some, there will be no symptoms but have long-term complications. Speak to a celiac disease doctor if you or your child has symptoms of celiac disease.
Who is at Risk?
Celiac disease risk factors are:
- Having a relative with celiac disease: This disease is genetic and if one of your family has this condition there is a high risk of getting it.
- Having certain genes: Certain genes like the HLA-DQ2 and HLA DQ8 carry this disease. Hence people who have this celiac gene have higher chances of developing this condition. Genetic disorders like down’s syndrome can also cause this condition.
- Autoimmune diseases: It is common among people who have other autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes, Addison’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Celiac disease is not caused by a single factor but by a combination of genetics and environmental factors.
Celiac Disease Causes
Celiac disease is an immune disorder issue. When a person consumes foods that contain gluten the immune system gets triggered. It starts to attack and damage the villi in the small intestine. Villi are small projections present in the small intestinal wall. Due to the immune response, the villi get inflamed and may get destroyed. When that happens the small intestine will not absorb nutrients and lead to malnutrition and other complications. The causes for this trigger other than consuming gluten food are:
- Presence of other autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes.
- A genetic disorder like Down syndrome
How is Celiac disease diagnosed?
A Celiac disease diagnosis is done by the doctor taking into account the medical history of the patient. That is followed by a physical examination and various tests. The Celiac disease test produces better results when gluten is present and hence the doctor may ask you to consume some. Blood Tests include:
- CBC to check the levels of Antiendomysium and anti-tissue transglutaminase.
- Cholesterol tests
- Liver function tests
- Alkaline phosphatase level test
- Serum albumin test
A skin biopsy is done by removing small pieces of tissue from the skin. If the blood tests and skin biopsy show celiac disease an internal biopsy may not be needed. If the blood test is not conclusive, then an endoscopy will be done to remove a tissue sample to test for this disease.
How is Celiac Disease treated?
There is no treatment for this condition and hence no medicine for Celiac disease. The only Celiac disease cure is to avoid consuming food that contains gluten. When gluten is not present in the diet the intestinal villi begin to heal. When the villi start to heal, the small intestine’s functioning gets back on track and begins to absorb nutrients. A dietician will recommend certain changes in the diet and avoiding gluten as a Celiac disease treatment. A specialist will also give instructions on how to plan a healthy and nutritious diet. When gluten is removed from the diet the symptoms improve and improves the quality of life. It is important to get celiac disease diagnosed before removing gluten from the diet. Contact our specialists at Cure.fit to get it diagnosed and get relief from symptoms.
How can Celiac disease be prevented?
Celiac disease prevention is quite hard. If you already have this condition you can prevent the damage to the intestine by eating a diet that is free from gluten. Some of the symptoms can be prevented by taking medications or by following a healthy and nutritious diet. There are many therapeutic approaches like enzyme supplements, transglutaminase inhibitors, and antigen blockers which will be suggested by your doctor. It is based on the severity of the condition. For people who have a nonfunctional spleen, there is a risk of having a pneumococcal infection. Contact our specialists who will recommend immunizations or other preventive measures.
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