- Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease which means you cannot grow out of it.
- 80% of Americans have undiagnosed celiac disease which is estimated at 3 million Americans.
- Not only adults, but the disease can also affect children too. It can affect every organ in the human system. Leaving it untreated can be painful.
- The only treatment for celiac disease is lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet. However, 20% of celiac patients do not respond to the gluten-free diet.
The current worldwide occurrence of celiac disease is estimated at 1.4% based on blood tests and 0.7% according to the biopsy results, says the meta-analysis. The prevalence of celiac disease was 0.4% in South America, 0.5% in Africa and North America, 0.6% in Asia, and 0.8% in Europe and Oceania.
It was observed that females were more affected by celiac disease than male individuals. The disease was more prominent in children than adults. The bottom line is that celiac disease occurrence varies with sex, age, and location.
Definition: Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a type of immune reaction that occurs because of eating gluten, a protein present in wheat, barley, and rye. It is also known as sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
Gluten is also present in some medicines, vitamins, and lipsticks. Gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity usually occurs when the body is unable to dissolve or breaks gluten down. People with gluten intolerance will end up showing mild gluten sensitivity.
But being sensitive to gluten is much more different from celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder. Severe gluten sensitivity can further lead to Celiac disease if left untreated. In celiac disease, the immune system starts secreting toxins due to gluten and damages the villi.
Villi is the plural form of the villus, and tiny finger-like protrusions are made up of cells that are spread in the entire length of the small intestine. It is responsible for absorbing nutrients from food intake. This gets damaged by the toxins produced by the immune system resulting in improper absorption of food.
This can further result in malnutrition and other severe health complications, such as permanent intestinal damage. As per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 1 in every 141 U.S citizens have celiac disease. Such people should eliminate gluten by avoiding food items, such as bread products, baked goods, beer.
How Do I Know If I’ve Got Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease mostly affects the intestines and digestive system of the body but can further affect other parts of the body accordingly. The effects caused by celiac disease are felt differently by both children and adults.
Symptoms in children
In children, celiac disease causes tiredness, and irritation, and affects their growth by delaying puberty. Celiac disease in children usually shows the following symptoms:-
- Loss of weight
- Abdominal bloating
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Persistent diarrhea
- Pale, fatty, foul-smelling stools
Symptoms in adults
In the case of adults, celiac disease interacts differently. In adults, celiac disease affects the other parts of the body as well, which gives it a different impact, such as:-
- Iron-deficiency anemia
- Pain and stiffness in the
- Weak, brittle bones
- Skin disorders
- Numbness and tingling in the palm and feet
- Discoloration of the tooth or loss of enamel
- Pale sores inside the mouth
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Infertility and miscarriage
Celiac disease commonly results in Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH). It is an intensely itchy skin rash in the form of bumps and blisters on the elbows, buttocks, and knees. Almost (15 to 25)% of people with celiac disease face dermatitis herpetiformis. Such people do not experience digestive symptoms.
Well, the Celiac disease symptoms are based on various factors and thus differ from person to person, such as:-
- the duration of breast-fed of a person when he was an infant
- the age when the person started eating gluten
- the amount of gluten intake
- the severity of intestinal damage
Some people experience no symptoms even if they have celiac disease. However, they may still experience long-term complications as a result of their disease.
Consult with your doctor once you or your child start experiencing any of these symptoms.
What Are People With Celiac Disease At Risk For?
Celiac disease is hereditary. As per the University of Chicago Medical Center, people with celiac disease in their families have a 1 in 22 chance of developing the disease.
People with other autoimmune diseases along with some genetic disorders are also more likely to have celiac disease, such as:-
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Thyroid disease
- Autoimmune liver disease
- Addison’s disease
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Down syndrome
- Turner syndrome
- Lactose intolerance
- Intestinal cancer
- Intestinal lymphoma
Also Read: List Of Some Serious Autoimmune Diseases
How Does A Doctor Diagnose Celiac?
Celiac disease diagnosis starts with a physical examination and medical history. The doctor may also perform various other tests in order to confirm the way of diagnosis.
Doctors will also perform various tests to confirm a diagnosis. People who have the celiac disease usually have high anti-endomysium (EMA) and anti-tissue transglutaminase (TGA) antibodies. These antibiotics can be easily detected through blood tests that are most reliable when they’re performed while gluten is still in the diet.
Common blood tests for celiac disease diagnosis are:-
- Complete Blood Count (CBC)
- Liver function tests
- Cholesterol test
- Alkaline phosphatase level test
- Serum albumin test
In people with Dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), a skin biopsy is usually performed to diagnose celiac disease. A skin biopsy involves the removal of a skin tissue sample for examination under a microscope. If the sample or the blood tests indicate celiac disease, an internal biopsy may not be necessary.
In some cases, blood test or skin biopsy results are not enough to diagnose celiac disease, and an upper endoscopy may be needed. In this process, a thin tube called an endoscope is threaded orally down into the small intestines.
A small camera is attached to the endoscope that helps the doctor to examine the intestines and villi visually. In some cases, the doctor may also suggest an intestinal biopsy in which a tissue sample from the intestines is taken for analysis.
Can Celiac Disease Go Away?
In order to cure celiac disease, permanent removal of gluten from your diet is required. Stopping the gluten intake allows the intestinal villi to heal and to begin absorbing nutrients properly. Your doctor will tell you ways to replace gluten with a nutritious and healthy diet. They will also help you know the percentage of gluten by reading the ingredients of a product.
The condition can be improved within days once you start removing gluten from the diet. However, you should not stop eating gluten until the diagnosis is complete. Removing gluten prematurely can interfere with the results and can result in an inaccurate diagnosis.
Do Not Make A Mistake. Follow These Instructions
Having a gluten-free diet is not easy. Luckily, many gluten-free products are available easily at specialty food stores. You will get to know about it through the label on these products stating “gluten-free.” Here are some tips that will help you determine gluten-free products to make your struggle easier.
Avoid the below-mentioned ingredients:-
- Graham flour
Avoid consuming the following things unless the label says gluten-free:
- Cakes and pies
- Imitation meats or seafood
- Processed lunch meats, sausages, and hot dogs
- Salad dressings
- Sauces (includes soy sauce)
- Self-basting poultry
Try consuming the below-mentioned food items:-
- Flour made from rice, soy, corn, potatoes, or beans
- Pure corn tortillas
Some healthy, gluten-free foods will nourish you, such as:-
- Fresh meats, fish, and poultry that haven’t been breaded, coated, or marinated
- Most dairy products
- Starchy vegetables like peas, potatoes, including sweet potatoes, and corn
- Rice, beans, and lentils
- Wine, distilled liquors, ciders, and spirits