One in every 100 people in the United States is diagnosed with Celiac Disease. This disease can change your lifestyle and if not treated can be the cause of many more serious health problems (iron deficiency anemia; osteoporosis; T-cell lymphoma; plus others).
What happens when you have Celiac Diseases?
Your immune system attacks gluten when ingested and in the process also attacks the lining of your small intestines. The small intestine normally absorbs nutrients that your body needs for good health but when damaged it cannot absorb the nutrients.
Symptoms you should watch for.
Not everyone shows the same symptoms and some people do not show any symptoms. If you have a member of your family that has been diagnosed with Celiac, or gluten intolerance your chances of developing it is increased. You should talk with your doctor about having further testing done.
The most frequent symptoms that may appear are:
- Change in bowel habits
- Weight Loss
- Acid indigestion or Acid Reflex
Testing for Celiac Disease
A Gastroenterologist is the usual doctor to perform the necessary tests that are required. They are familiar with the type of tests required and the labs that are experienced in doing the tests.
Genetic testing is done with either a blood test or mouth swab. The results will indicate if you are a possible candidate for either gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease. This type of test can also indicate if your children are susceptible for Celiac disease.
An Antibody blood test or Coombs test will test whether your blood has antibodies attached to the red blood cells. These antibodies are made by your immune system and the type of antibody, Endomysial antibodies and anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies,indicate your chances of having Celiac Disease. If you are currently on a gluten-free diet notify your physician. The Antibody Blood test will not give an accurate result if you are on a gluten-free diet.
An upper gastrointestinal endoscopy allows the doctor to examine your esophagus, stomach, and the upper part of your small intestine. He can take samples to run a biopsy which enables him to verify the diagnoses. The biopsy shows if there is inflammation of the small intestines and damage to the villi, finger-shaped tissues in the small intestines. This is a very painless procedure and you will be asleep during the entire process.
If your final results indicate that you have Celiac Disease, you will have to change your diet permanently. There is no cure for Celiac Disease only your strict compliance to the Gluten-Free diet will help to repair any damage done to your small intestine and prevent further damage to your health due to Celiac Disease.