Celiac Disease – Conditions

We Primary Care - Best Primary Care Knowledge Site

Overview

Celiac disease, also known as gluten sensitivity or celiac sprue, is your immune system’s response to gluten. Your immune system reacts this way because it recognizes gluten as a harmful substance and creates antibodies to fight that substance which leads to multiple gluten intolerance symptoms. Gluten is a protein that can be found in rye, wheat, barley, and some other food items. 

If you suffer from celiac disease, eating anything that contains a certain percentage of gluten in it may trigger an immune response that impacts your small intestine. If this reaction occurs frequently it may also damage your small intestine lining which will create other health problems like malabsorption, diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, anemia, and some other serious health conditions.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 2 million Americans have celiac disease, which means about 1% of the entire population suffers from this disease. The treatment for this condition includes removing all forms of gluten from your diet. 

Causes 

Genetics plays a very important role in what causes celiac disease along with how often you consume foods with gluten, but the exact cause isn’t known. Gut bacteria, gastrointestinal infections, and Infant-feeding practices might contribute, as well. Sometimes the celiac disease can be triggered after the body undergoes a trauma like surgery, childbirth, severe emotional stress, or a viral infection. 

If your body triggers an immune response once you consume something that contains gluten, the reaction will damage the tiny, hairlike projections in your small intestine known as villi. The villi help the body absorb nutrients from the food you consume. If the villi get damaged, you won’t be able to absorb nutrients properly regardless of how much you eat. 

Symptoms

The symptoms of celiac disease may be slightly different in children from celiac symptoms in adults. Children suffering from celiac disease will feel more tired and irritable. Their growth may also be affected because they won’t be getting the proper nutrients required by their body.  Some other common signs of celiac disease include:

  • Weight Loss
  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent constipation or diarrhea
  • Pale and foul-smelling stools

The signs of celiac disease in adults can be related to the digestive system. They may also affect other parts of the body. These symptoms may include:

  • Anemia
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Weak bones
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Skin disorders
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Loss of enamel in the teeth
  • Pale sores inside the mouth
  • Infertility and miscarriage
  • Irregular menstrual periods

Diagnosis

Many people ignore their gluten sensitivity symptoms as they are not aware that they might have celiac disease. If your doctor suspects it, he/she might recommend one of the following blood tests that can help diagnose it:

  • Serology testing 
  • Genetic testing 

Before you opt for a gluten-free diet, get tested for celiac disease. If the results of the above-mentioned tests indicate celiac disease, your doctor will likely order one of the following tests:

  • Endoscopy. 
  • Capsule endoscopy

Treatment

Celiac disease can only be managed by adhering to a strict gluten-free diet, which means avoiding the following foods:

  • Barley
  • Bulgur
  • Wheat
  • Farina
  • Malt
  • Graham flour
  • Rye
  • Triticale
  • Semolina

A dietitian or physician who frequently works with the sufferers of celiac disease can help compose a gluten-free diet for you. Even the lowest percentage of gluten in your diet can be damaging, even if they don’t cause signs or symptoms. Besides food, gluten can be found in the following items: 

  • Modified food starch, preservatives, and food stabilizers
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Lipsticks
  • Prescriptions and over-the-counter medications
  • Herbal and nutritional supplements
  • Envelope glues
  • Toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Playdough

The removal of gluten from your diet reduces inflammation in the small intestine. Children tend to heal more quickly than adults.

When To See a Doctor? 

Consult a primary care physician if you are suffering from diarrhea and other digestive problems for the last two weeks or more. You should consult a pediatrician if your child is exhibiting symptoms of celiac like pale skin, irritable mood, and failing to grow. 

Be sure to consult your doctor before trying a gluten-free diet. If you stop the consumption of gluten without getting tested for celiac disease, you may end up changing the results. This disease tends to run in families. If someone in your family has the condition, ask your doctor if you should be tested.


visit our other interesting blogs at our primary care website:
Burning Feet Syndrome
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Celiac Disease
Cellulitis
Chest pain chills
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Claustrophobia
Cold Hands
Cold Sores / Herpes Labialis
Constipation
Coronary Artery Disease
Cough
Coughing Up Blood
Crohn’s Disease