Celiac disease, a condition simply described as a form of gluten intolerance, is not easy to diagnose, because it has a combination of symptoms in children like abdominal pain, diarrhea, not gaining weight, nausea, anemia, mouth sores, lack of appetite, hair loss, bloated abdomen, not growing in height, dermatitis, and behavioral disorders. Adults suffer fatigue, depression, osteoporosis, irritability, and lactose intolerance when they are afflicted by this disease.
When a person has celiac disease, the inner lining of his small intestines are inflamed due to the contact with gluten, a protein commonly found in wheat, barley and rye. The inflammation of the small intestines makes the body unable to absorb the necessary nutrients from the food taken in. People with this malady suffer malnutrition, even if they eat so much food, resulting to their getting weaker and becoming more susceptible to other diseases.
Diagnosing a celiac disease condition is difficult because the exact cause of the disease is still unknown. Research and studies over time however, have shown that the disease is genetic based – hereditary, in a way – so if someone in your family had it before, you could also suffer from the disease.
Laboratory tests are used in diagnosing the disease through the analysis of blood samples. If the blood samples show high levels of anti-gliadin, anti-endomysium, and anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies, this is an indication of the presence of celiac disease. These antibodies attack the gluten in the body just like the immune system trying to get rid of virus and bacteria. Once the gluten is overwhelmed by these antibodies, the person having the malady suffers malnutrition because of the loss of the gluten.
There are times when the levels of these antibodies are found to be normal, and yet patients still have the symptoms of celiac disease. Only when gluten is removed from their diet can they be rid of the symptoms, but this also means that they will not have the nutritional elements necessary for their growth and well being.
If celiac disease is left unattended it can lead to complications and to other more dangerous diseases like lupus, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, microscopic colitis, and autoimmune thyroid disease. Malnutrition will be a starting point for the onset of celiac disease and deficiencies in vitamins A, B-12, De, E, and K may follow, which can cause anemia and weight loss. Calcium will be lacking in one’s body as well, affecting his bone density. The disease can also result to developing allergic reactions to foods that don’t even contain gluten, such as those that contain lactose.