Celiac disease is a disease that prevents the small intestine from absorbing and processing certain proteins, especially Gluten. Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye, barley and some oats. When someone has Celiac disease, their body reacts to proteins like gluten as if it is toxic, which results in feeling very ill, having abdominal pain, and a variety of other health complications. Anyone who has Celiac disease will need to eat a gluten-free diet and eliminate any other proteins from their diet that their body is unable to absorb.
Causes of Celiac Disease
There isn’t a single cause of Celiac disease but there are some incidences and risk factors to be aware of. The first risk factor is someone who lives a life of being malnourished either through not eating enough, too much or unhealthy foods, can cause their body to not be able to absorb nutrients properly which leads to Celiac disease. Celiac disease can occur in any gender, race, or age from infancy to late in life. Someone who has a family member with Celiac disease is also going to be at a higher risk of developing the disease. It does tend to be more common among Europeans and Caucasions and women get it more often than men. There are also some medical conditions that are common among people with Celiac disease including autoimmune disorders, Down syndrome, Addison’s disease, intestinal cancer, intestinal lymphoma, lactose intolerance, thyroid disease and Type 1 diabetes.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
The symptoms of Celiac disease are widely different from person to person, and there are many different things someone with the disease might deal with. Possible signs and symptoms of Celiac disease include abdominal pain, indigestion, bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, decreased appetite, lactose intolerance, nausea and vomiting, light stools, unexplained weight loss, bruising easily, depression or anxiety, growth delay in children, fatigue, irregular menstrual cycles, itchy skin, hair loss, mouth ulcers, muscle cramps, joint pain, seizures, and nose bleeds.
Diagnosing and Treating Celiac Disease
Some of the signs a doctor might run for someone showing symptoms of Celiac disease is an albumin count, level of blood clotting, cholesterol count, alkaline phosphatase test, liver enzymes test, complete blood count, and prothrombin time. An upper endoscopy may be performed if these tests turn up positive for possible Celiac disease. The main course of treatment for Celiac disease is a change in eating habits. The main protein not able to be absorbed is gluten, so people diagnosed with Celiac disease will need to eat a gluten-free diet by eliminating wheat, rye, flour, and many other ingredients. Tis includes most breads and baked products as nearly all of them contain flour or wheat unless they’re homemade with wheat and flour substitutes.