Many Americans suffer from gastric upsets and most would think little of the bloating they experience. Sometimes, people would think it’s just something bad that they ate that day that gave them the stomach upset, not thinking it could be a whole lot worse. If you are getting this more often that usual, then you better need to have it checked because it might be Celiac disease.
So what is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is a digestive disorder that affects the digestive system, primarily the small intestines. This condition disrupts the absorption of nutrients we get from food. Those who have this condition have no ability to tolerate a protein called gluten which is commonly found in grain products such as barley, rye, oats and wheat. These protein derivatives can also be found in other products such as medicines, food supplements and cosmetics.
When someone affected by Celiac disease eat foods which contain gluten, his body undergoes a state called hypersensitivity reaction, pretty much like how the body responds to allergies. The auto immune response primarily affects the intestines damaging the tiny structures in them called the villi which are responsible for nutrient absorption. Without the villi, the person affected becomes severely malnourished and immuno-compromised no matter the quantity of food and nutrients he takes in.
This condition is both an illness related to mal absorption of nutrients and an abnormal immune response to gluten. Celiac disease is a genetic disorder and can be caused by digestive problems, viral infections, surgeries and even emotional stress. Manifestations of this disorder would often include bloating, gastric upsets, diarrhea, dehydration, malnutrition, fatty stools and vomiting. Anemia is also a common feature of this condition which is common among children affected by Celiac disease. Some of the crisis the body undergoes after the onset of Celiac disease would be chronic dehydration, shock, seizures and cardiac problems which are fatal to those who are severely wasted.
If left untreated, this condition could lead to various complications such as severe anemia, electrolyte imbalances and other diseases related to severe malnourishment. Children are the most vulnerable population among those who suffer from Celiac disease. Many children suffering form this condition, especially those who are less that 5 years old cannot tolerate dehydration and malnourishment since their bodies are too immature to fight off infections and undergo such crisis. Dehydration brought by diarrhea and frequent vomiting could easily kill children under five years old.
Celiac disease is quite difficult to diagnose because of the diversity of symptoms this condition has. There is no typical way for this disease to manifests itself in such a way that people can easily detect. Since some of its symptoms can easily be linked with other bowel diseases, this condition can easily be undermined and missed. If this condition is successfully diagnosed, the only way to subside some its symptoms would be to embrace a gluten free diet to avoid long term complications.