Celiac Disease

In today”s time many kinds of diseases are spreading and growing in every nook and crook in this world. We only know about a few kinds of diseases but not much about all of the others. So getting to know and stay aware is very important to us. Celiac disease is one of such diseases about whom people don”t know much even they get misled by getting into the confusion of disturbed digestion and irritable bowel. In this post we will find out the deep down info e.g. it’s symptoms, reasons, precautions, diagnosis, etc.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease, sometimes called celiac spruce is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically inclined people where the consumption of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.

When people with celiac eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley), their body triggers an immune response that attacks the small intestine. Over time, these attacks lead to damage small intestine’s lining which is called villi, and prevents it from absorbing some nutrients from the food. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body. The intestinal damage often causes diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, bloating, and anemia and can lead to serious health complications. In children, malabsorption can affect their growth and development.
Celiac disease is genetic, meaning that it runs in families. People with a first-degree relative with celiac disease (parent, child, sibling) have a 1 in 10 risks of developing celiac disease. There’s no cure for celiac disease- but for most people, following a strict gluten-free diet can help them to manage symptoms and promote intestinal healing.
Celiac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medicines that contain gluten.

Symptoms:-

The sign and symptoms of this disease can vary greatly in person to person and differ in children and adults.
digestion-related signs and symptoms for adults include:
➢ Diarrhea
➢ Fatigue
➢ Weight loss
➢ Bloating and gas
➢ Abdominal pain
➢ Nausea and vomiting
➢ Constipation.

However, more than half of the adults with such disease have signs and symptoms which are unrelated to the digestive system. These signs are:

  • Anemia, due to iron deficiency
  • Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) or softening of bones (osteomalacia)
  • Itchy blistery skin rash
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Headaches and fatigues
  • Numbness and tingling sensation in the feet and hands
  • Joint pain 
Celiac disease effected intestine

Children:–

Children with such disease are more likely than adults have digestive problems, like:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Swollen belly
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Pale foul-smelling stool

The inability to absorb nutrients might result in:-

  • Failure to thrive for infants
  • Damage to tooth enamel
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Irritability
  • Short stature
  • Delayed puberty

Dermatitis herpetiformis

This disease may cause dermatitis herpetiformis, a type of itchy, blistering skin rash that can occur on the elbows, knees, or buttocks. The rash usually occurs on the elbows, knees, torso, scalp, and buttocks.

Dermatitis herpetiformis

When to see a doctor

Consult your doctor if you have diarrhea or digestive discomfort that lasts for more than two weeks. Consult your child’s doctor if your child is pale, irritable, or failing to grow or has a potbelly and foul-smelling, bulky stools.
Be sure to consult your doctor before trying a gluten-free diet. If you stop or even reduce the amount of gluten you eat before you’re tested for celiac disease, you can change the test results.
Celiac disease tends to run in families. If someone in your family has the condition, ask your doctor if you should be tested. Also ask your doctor about testing if you or someone in your family has a risk factor for celiac disease, such as type 1 diabetes.

Risk factors

Gluten intolerance tends to be more common in people who have:

  • A family member with such disease or dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Down syndrome or Turner syndrome
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Microscopic colitis (lymphocytic or collagenous colitis)
  • Addison’s disease

Complications

Untreated, celiac disease can cause:

Malnutrition:- This occurs if your small intestine can’t absorb enough nutrients. Malnutrition can lead to anemia and weight loss. In children, malnutrition can cause slow growth and short stature.

Bone weakening:- Malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D can lead to a softening of the bone (osteomalacia or rickets) in children and a loss of bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis) in adults. 

Infertility and miscarriage:- Malabsorption of calcium and vitamin D can contribute to reproductive issues. 

Lactose intolerance:- Damage to your small intestine might cause you abdominal pain and diarrhea after eating or drinking dairy products that contain lactose. Once your intestine has healed, you might be able to tolerate dairy products again.

Cancer:- People with celiac disease who don’t maintain a gluten-free diet have a greater risk of developing several forms of cancer, including intestinal lymphoma and small bowel cancer.

celiac disease

Some people with this disease don’t respond to what they consider to be a gluten-free diet. The condition of Nonresponsive celiac disease is often to occur due to cross-contamination of the diet with gluten. Working with a dietitian can help you to learn how to avoid all gluten from your food and how to avoid or get to know about the cross-contaminated eatables and food items. With the help of a dietitian, you can learn to read and understand food labeling.

People with nonresponsive celiac disease might have:

Bacteria in the small intestine (bacterial overgrowth)

Microscopic colitis

Poor pancreas function (pancreatic insufficiency)

Irritable bowel syndrome

Difficulty digesting sugar found in dairy products (lactose), table sugar (sucrose), or a type of sugar found in honey and fruits (fructose). 

Refractory celiac disease

In rare instances, the intestinal injury of celiac disease doesn’t respond to a strict gluten-free diet. This is known as refractory celiac disease. If you still have signs and symptoms after following a gluten-free diet for six months to one year, you might need further testing and detection to look for other explanations for your symptoms.

How to manage Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is a lifelong condition that has no cure. However, people with this condition can manage their symptoms effectively by following a strict gluten-free diet.
This means such patients should have to avoid each and every food product which contains wheat, barley, rye.
even those all foods that may have been cross-contaminated, such as oats, unless they are labeled as gluten-free.

What to eat and what not to eat

So for a patient of this disease, there is always a very hard and confusing situation about what he/she should eat and what kind of eating items they should have to avoid living a healthy yet problem-free life. So here are two lists of such food items from which few are meant to be avoided and rest are meant to be safe to eat.

Foods to Avoid

Here are a few other foods you should avoid unless they are specifically labeled as gluten-free:

  • Pasta
  • Bread
  • Cake
  • Pies
  • Crackers
  • Burger
  • Cookies
  • Beer
  • Sauces
  • Dressings
  • Gravies 

Foods to Eat

Fortunately, there are plenty of nutritious and naturally gluten-free foods out there. So here are some foods that can be included in a healthy gluten-free life:

  • Meat, poultry, and seafood
  • Eggs
  • Dairy Products
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Healthy Fats
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Gluten-free grains, such as Quina, Rice, Buckwheat, and Millet. 

Nowadays in India, there are many brands and E-commerce sites that are selling and providing many gluten-free food products and condiments from where you can easily select and purchase eatables for yourself.
Few sites, stores, and manufacturers are giving the ease to get and buy these products as per your need and requirements.

The Bottom Line

Celiac disease is a serious condition in which the immune system attacks the small intestine in response to eating gluten in any way.
If it lefts untreated or if we don’t give prior attention towards its early symptoms then it can result in many adverse side effects.
If you suspect that you have celiac disease then speak with your doctor about getting tested. Always stay in touch to get more and updated info about it.

So stay updated and live a healthy and happy life.

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