What You Should Know About Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the small intestine. This disease occurs as a result of an immune reaction to gluten. Gluten is a component of some protein foods, such as wheat and barley. This disease occurs in people that are genetically predisposed to having the disease. The typical symptoms of this disease include long-term diarrhoea, reduced or the loss of appetite, growth retardation, malabsorption and the distention of the abdomen. This disease typically occurs when people are between the 6 months and 2 years. When an individual with celiac disease consumes food that has gluten, the immune system of the body attacks the gluten and damages the villi in the process. The villi are projections in the small intestine, that enhances the absorption of food. However, celiac disease would present with malabsorption because of the damages were done to the villi by the body immune system. This can eventually lead to the loss some important nutrients. In addition, patients might experience a reduced bone density, infertility, problems digesting fat food, and so on. Diagnosis of celiac disease is usually made by performing some tests and doing a genetic test. A biopsy can be done to confirm the diagnosis. The most effective treatment for this disease is to abstain from the gluten-containing diet. Those would improve and increase the rate of recovery of the mucous layer of the intestine. However, if this disease is left untreated, it might get complicated and lead to other conditions, such as cancer.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Celiac Disease?
The signs and symptoms of this disease usually differ in people. However, the classic symptoms of this disease are pale, fatty stool. This stool might also have a loose intensity. Some of the common signs and symptoms of this disease include;
- Anemia: This occurs as a result of the malabsorption of food materials in the intestine.
- Ulceration of the mouth
- Tiredness: This can be attributed to the poor absorption in the small intestine, due to the destruction of the intestinal villi
- Reduced bone density: This occurs as a result of the poor digestion of vitamin D containing food. Patients can also experience osteomalacia.
- Neuropathies: Patients do present with symptoms such as the numbness of the extremities. Some people affected by this disease also complain of tingling sensations in their limbs. In addition, patients might also present with imbalance and poor cognitive abilities.
- Bone and joint pain
- Some patients do complain of heartburn.
- Reduced function of the spleen: This is also known as hyposplenism. This might predispose the patients to have The spleen plays an important role in protecting the body against infections
What Are The Causes Of Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease develops from a combination of different factors. Some of these factors include gluten-containing diet, environmental factors. However, the exact cause of this disease isn’t known yet. Some gastrointestinal microorganism has also been implicated to be part of the causes of this disease. The disease usually begins after a significant change occurs in the body. Examples of this kind of change are pregnancy, infection, child delivery, or serious physical or emotional stress. When an individual that is genetically predisposed to having this disease, consumes a gluten-containing diet, the body immune system reacts by attacking the gluten. This mostly occurs in the small intestine, and the villi of the intestine are damaged in this process. This significantly impairs the ability of the small intestine to absorb food. This villus of the small intestine is needed for the absorption of food. A reduction in the absorption of food in the small intestine would lead to a reduction in the nutrients available for the body use. This results in poor growth. Some genes increase the chances of having this disease. Celiac disease is more predominant among Caucasians, while it’s a rare occurrence in other races.
What Are The Complications Of Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease when untreated can lead to a lot of complications. Some of these complications are
- Loss of bone density: One of the classic symptoms of celiac disease is malabsorption. Patients usually have a problem absorbing and digesting vitamin D and calcium-containing This eventually lead to bone disorders such as osteomalacia and osteoporosis.
- Malnutrition: Patients affected by this disease usually have damaged intestinal villi. This significantly impairs the absorption of food into the bloodstream. This reduces growth, especially in children. In addition, patients might present with blood disorder such as anemia, and loss of weight.
- Cancer: Celiac disease when not well-managed leads have a high chance of developing cancer. In addition, people affected by this disease increases their risk of having cancer when they consume gluten-containing food.
- Neuropathies: Patients with this disease tend to develop some neurological disorders. Some of these disorders include tingling sensations in the extremities, loss of sensitivities in the limbs, and seizures.
- Infertility: The poor absorption of vitamin D and calcium also impair fertility, and could lead to the development of miscarriage.
- Lactose intolerance: The destruction of the small intestinal villi may cause the patient to have pain in the abdomen, diarrhea, especially after consuming food that contains a rich amount of lactose. However, the symptoms improve, once the patient abstains from eating gluten-containing food.
Who’s At Risk Of Having Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a genetic disease. People who have a relative that is suffering from this disease has a high chance of having the disease. However, having the gene does not necessarily mean that you’d have the disease. In addition, some factors such as infection and stress also increases the risk of having celiac disease
How Is Celiac Disease Treated?
The most effective treatment is to maintain a gluten-free diet. However, if an individual affected by celiac disease consumes gluten food, the physician might recommend the following;
- Vitamins and supplements: Vitamins and supplements are usually administered to the patient. However, if the patient’s intestinal mucosa have been damaged due to the disease, the doctor can inject the vitamin and supplements.
- Corticosteroids: This can be given to regulate and reduce any inflammatory process that might be taking place
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