In Celiac Disease, when people eat foods or even use products containing gluten, the immune system take action by damaging or destroying Villi which is the tiny, finger like protrusions kind of lining the small intestine. Villi’s main function is to allow nutrients from food to be absorbed through the walls of the small intestine and then into the bloodstream. And if such villi are damaged or destroyed then a person becomes malnourished, even though he is eating a proper balanced diet and no matter how much quantity of food one eats as vitamins, calcium, protein, carbohydrates, fats and other important nutrients are not absorbed.
• Disease of Mal-absorption: meaning nutrients are not absorbed properly
• An abnormal immune reaction to gluten
• This disease: also known as celiac sprue, nontropical sprue, and gluten-sensitive enteropathy.
• Celiac disease is genetic, meaning it runs in families and passed in heriditory
• This disease can also be triggered: it becomes active for the first time after some incident like after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress.
Symptoms of this Disease
Celiac disease’s symptoms vary from person to person and also these symptoms can occur in digestive system or in some other part of the body. Though digestive symptoms are common in infants and young children suffering from this disease.
Symptoms common in infants and young children: Digestive Symptoms of Celiac disease:
• abdominal bloating and pain
• chronic diarrhea
• pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
• weight loss
• Mal-absorption of nutrients
Celiac disease during the years when child is growing has bad repercussions on the well being and growth of the child. When nutrition is critical to a child’s normal growth, this disease can cause and irreversible damage to growth of child like
• Failure to thrive in infants
• Delayed growth and short stature
• Delayed puberty
• Dental enamel defects of the permanent teeth
Symptoms of Celiac disease in Adults: This disease symptoms in adults, have less digestive symptoms and instead have one or more of the following symptoms:
• unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
• bone or joint pain
• bone loss or osteoporosis
• depression or anxiety
• tingling numbness in the hands and feet
• missed menstrual periods
• infertility or recurrent miscarriage
• canker sores inside the mouth
• an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
Long term of Celiac disease in adults causes:
• Liver diseases
• Cancers of the intestine.
Celiac disease is confused with:
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Iron-deficiency anemia caused by menstrual blood loss
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Intestinal infections
• Chronic fatigue syndrome
Tests for diagnosing Celiac disease:
• Blood Tests: test blood for high levels of anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTGA) or anti-endomysium antibodies (EMA).
• Intestinal Biopsy: a biopsy of the small intestine, to check damage to villi
• Dermatitis Herpetiformis: Dermatitis herpetiformis is an intensely itchy, blistering skin rash, affects 15 to 25 percent of people with this, occurring on the elbows, knees, and buttocks and mostly they do not show digestive symptoms of this disease. Dermatitis Herpetiformis diagnosed through blood test and skin biopsy.
• Screening: In the absence of symptoms yet the doubt persist of having this disease then screening is done that is testing for the presence of autoantibodies in the blood.
Treatment of Celiac disease:
Only treatment is going for gluten free diet and for this you may ask for diet from doctor or dietician. Following the diet will stop the symptoms and also heal existing intestinal damage and prevent further damage. Healing will take time, some three to six months in children and much more in adult but healing means that now individual has villi that can now absorb nutrients from food and into bloodstream.
Gluten free diet: it means you do not have to eat foods that contain wheat, barley and rye, basically avoid eating most grain, pasta, cereal and many processed foods.
Though a person can eat a well balanced diet food to keep healthy with variety of food like:
• Indian rice grass
• Job’s tears legumes
• sago seeds
• wild rice
Celiac Disease can be cured with gluten free diet which is for lifetime, symptoms can reoccur if gluten is eaten.