What is Celiac Disease?
The first thing to understand about Celiac disease is that it is an autoimmune disorder, which can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestine. It is estimated to affect one in 100 people worldwide and currently, there is no cure for it. Therefore, It is important for the person who is diagnosed with Celiac disease to follow a 100 percent gluten-free diet.
The truth is that the lack of knowledge is the biggest danger for a parent or an adult who is suffering from Celiac disease. Remember that awareness and knowledge are the best ways to handle any problem rather than closing your eyes and living in denial.
Celiac Is An Autoimmune Disease
To be able to understand Celiac disease, we must first learn about autoimmune diseases.
An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which normally defends your body against harmful microbes, suddenly starts treating your healthy cells as foreign particles. As a result, your immune system starts attacking those healthy cells. Depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissues.
Currently, they are 80 different types of autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are heredity and run in the family. It is possible to have more than one autoimmune disease.
What All Are Autoimmune diseases?
Rheumatoid Arthritis: inflammation of joints and surrounding tissues.
Systemic Lupus Erythematous: affects the skin, joints, kidneys, brain, and other organs.
Celiac Disease: a reaction to gluten (found in wheat, rye, and barley) that causes damage to the lining of the small intestine.
Pernicious Anaemia: decrease in red blood cells caused by an inability to absorb vitamin B-12.
Vitiligo: white patches on the skin caused by loss of pigment.
Scleroderma: a connective tissue disease that causes changes in the skin, blood vessels, muscles, and internal organs.
Psoriasis: a skin condition that causes redness and irritation as well as thick, flaky, silver-white patches.
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases: a group of inflammatory diseases of the colon and small intestine.
Hashimoto’s Disease: Inflammation of the thyroid gland.
Addison’s disease: adrenal hormone insufficiency.
Graves’ disease: overactive thyroid gland.
Reactive Arthritis: inflammation of the joints, urethra, and eyes; may cause sores on the skin and mucous membranes.
Sjögren’s Syndrome: destroys the glands that produce tears and saliva causing dry eyes and mouth; may affect kidneys and lungs.
Type 1 Diabetes: the destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
To make it simple, if your family has any of these 80 different types of autoimmune diseases, you are likely to inherit any of them, including Celiac disease.
Can Celiac Disease Be Cured?
The only treatment for celiac disease is to follow a gluten-free diet—that is, to avoid all foods that contain gluten. For most people, following this diet will stop symptoms, heal existing intestinal damage, and prevent further damage. Improvements begin within weeks of starting the diet. Although the vast majority of children undergo full healing of their intestinal lining, research has shown that the healing may remain incomplete in many adults, even though symptoms may regress.
The gluten-free diet is a lifetime requirement. Eating any gluten, no matter how small an amount, can damage the small intestine. This is true for anyone with the disease, including people who do not have noticeable symptoms. Antibody levels take a long time (sometimes more than a year) to normalize after a person has stopped eating gluten. The doctor will assess if your intestinal damage is improving satisfactorily or not, based on the, based on the pace of the decline of antibody levels. Depending on a person’s age at diagnosis, some problems, such as delayed growth and tooth discoloration, may not improve.
How To Diagnose Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease can develop at any age after people start eating foods or medicines that contain gluten. If left untreated, celiac disease can lead to serious health problems. These include the development of other autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis (MS), dermatitis herpetiformis (an itchy skin rash), anaemia, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, neurological conditions like epilepsy and migraines, short stature, and intestinal cancers.
Celiac Disease is a chronic autoimmune disease, which means that you cannot “grow out” of it. The Only solution is lifelong adherence to a strict gluten-free diet. People living a gluten-free life must avoid foods with wheat, rye, and barley, such as bread and beer. Ingesting even small amounts of gluten, like crumbs from a cutting board or toaster, can trigger its symptoms leading to damage of the small intestine. Some of the common symptoms are gas, bloating, change in bowel movements, weight loss, lethargy, and weakness.
Celiac disease test
Celiac disease testing requires several serologic (blood) tests but the most commonly used is called a
Tissue transglutaminase IgA test (measures antibodies in the blood)
If test results suggest celiac disease, your doctor will recommend a biopsy of your small intestine to confirm the diagnosis.
Gluten challenge test
For diagnosis of Celiac disease, you must NOT already be on a gluten-free diet. If you are on a gluten-free diet, CDF’s medical experts recommend a “Gluten Challenge” – daily consumption of gluten equivalent to at least four slices of bread for one to three months followed by an endoscopic biopsy with no serology testing.
Gluten Intolerance can be of three types
- Wheat Allergy
- Celiac Disease
- Non-Celiac Sensitivity
Symptoms for all these three diseases are similar and the level of positive or negative tests defines the level of gluten intolerance.
Wheat allergy is when someone is allergic to wheat grain only and might not be allergic to the protein called “gluten”. Symptoms of wheat allergy can range from mild to life-threatening. Severe difficulty in breathing called anaphylaxis can be one of the signs but remember that a person can outgrow a wheat allergy.
Food Allergy Test in Pune
What celiac disease does to the body?
Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of protein gluten found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. To diagnose celiac disease levels of TTG and IgA are checked through a blood test and the gold standard to confirm is a biopsy. Celiac disease is hereditary and runs in the family. People with first degree relatives who are suffering from celiac disease have 1 in 10 risks of developing the disease. It is a lifelong disease that requires no medication except for following a very strict gluten-free diet and making sure there’s no cross-contamination either.
If the celiac disease goes undiagnosed it will lead to the failure to absorb nutrients during critical years of growth and development and that can cause several health problems such as delayed puberty in adolescents, short stature and weight loss.
What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a serious condition that can cause a host of negative symptoms, including;
- Oral Symptoms
- Behavioral Symptoms
- Female Specific Symptoms
- Symptoms on Skin
- Intestinal Symptoms
- Joints and Muscle Symptoms
- Vitamin Deficiency Symptoms
- Other Symptoms
Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity is intolerance to the protein gluten found in wheat, rye, oats, and barley. But either the blood test or the biopsy is negative. These people experience better gut conditions when not consuming wheat, rye, oats, and barley. A lot of other food allergy conditions such as FODMAP have been diagnosed in people suffering from non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
The truth is that it is very tough to diagnose gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Sometimes a person can have these signs and still go undiagnosed and keep suffering till they reach old age and by then the venial is very badly damaged and all the nutrients have been drained out of the body.
Gluten Intolerance Symptoms
Going gluten-free just to lose weight (as suggested by many nutritionists) isn’t the best way forward. But yes, cutting down on gluten is good for all.
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