Celiac was a disease that at one time was believed to be a problem only children contracted. This disorder of the digestive system is more common, it has been learned, being reported in as much as 2 million Americans. This genetic disease so if one member of the family has contracted it, others in the family are at risk as well. It is a disease that my lie dormant until a pregnancy, stress, surgery or childbirth wakes it up.
Having this disease means that people are intolerant to gluten. If too much gluten gets into the digestive system, an allergic reaction happens, which means the body will start to attack itself from the stomach outward. The villi that coat the small intestines can be completely destroyed.
A gluten allergy can resemble any other food allergy, but it can also vary a great deal from person to person. Having stomach trouble is a regular occurrence with celiac disease, and children and infants suffer more than older people. Symptoms run from bloating and stomach aches to vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and rotten-smelling stools. Losing weight is a common thing with children because of these symptoms. An intolerance for gluten may affect growth and normal development as well.
For adults, the symptoms are a bit more mixed. The hard part about diagnosing a gluten intolerance in adults is that their symptoms might be the result of any other disease or problem, so it isn’t usually caught immediately. This can be pain in the joints and bones, iron deficiency that cannot be explained, fatigue, seizures, canker sores, itchy rashes, osteoporosis or bone loss, even arthritis. For women, the problems go further, with missed menstrual cycles, infertility, and miscarriages.
Without taking care of the gluten problem, more serious health issues can arise. Nutritional problems crop up because, as a gluten allergy strikes, the body defends itself by attacking the villi in the small intestines, which results in a lowered ability to take nutrients in from food. Malnutrition would result, along with cancer in the digestive tract and liver disease.
Sufferers of celiac disease often have problems with other body attacking disorders. Type 1 diabetes, for instance, and Addison’s and Sjogren’s. There is also autoimmune diseases of the liver and thyroid, and rheumatoid arthritis, all of which can add to the symptoms of celiac disease.
Symptoms that they all share are urinating often, trouble with sight, healing time that is slower than normal, unexplained weight gain or loss, stiffness in the joints, weak muscles or fatigue, jaundice, and an increase in getting infections. Irritability can also be a symptom. All of these share symptoms to that of the gluten intolerant person, and could make it troublesome to identify a gluten allergy.
Because there are so many possible symptoms that can mask celiac disease or some more severe symptoms, it is definitely important to consult with your doctor immediately if you experience regular suffering with them. Try keeping a journal of the food that you eat, as this could help both you and your doctor in identifying conditions that might be the result of a gluten intolerance. You might also consider keeping track of medicines, lip balm and vitamins, as these might have gluten allergy triggers in them.
To be sure of a gluten allergy, your doctor may request blood work or a biopsy of your intestines. Blood work is on the lookout for particular antibodies that are more prevalent in those with gluten intolerance. If celiac disease is shown in the blood test results, then the biopsy is done as a second confirmation.