Celiac disease is one of the digestive system that has to do with damage to the small intestine. Those who suffer form this disease are unable to tolerate gluten, a protein found in rye, barley and wheat. It presents serious problems for sufferers because gluten is widely used. It is found not only in foods, but also in common everyday products like medicines, vitamins and even lip balm.
What Happens in the Body of Celiac Disease Sufferers When They Come into Contact With Gluten
To understand the possible severity of this disease, it helps to know what happens in the body of those who have it when they come into contact with gluten. When this disease sufferer consumes or comes into contact with gluten, their immune system starts to work against them. It does so by tearing down or annihilating villi, which are small, finger-like protrusions that line the small intestine.
Villi are important to food absorption; they allow nutrients to get through to the bloodstream. Without this gateway, a person can easily become mal- and/or undernourished. No amount of food consumption will change this because the vital nutrients the body needs from the food consumed is not properly distributed throughout the body.
Because of this, celiac disease is a two-pronged illness: one of malabsorption and one of an abnormal immune system.
Celiac Disease and Genetics
This disease runs in families. It is, unfortunately genetic. However, this can also be a positive because it can be caught earlier and hence treated earlier. The disease can present at various times in a person’s life, eg, pregnancy or during a particularly stressful time.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
The symptoms vary from one person to another. And some symptoms can be different in children, for example, than in adults. The symptoms can be broken down into two categories: (i) the physical; and (ii) the emotional, for lack of a better phrase.
Some of the common physical symptoms are diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, seizures, tingling sensation in extremities, canker sores and weight loss.
Some of the most common emotional symptoms associated with celiac disease are depression, anxiety in adults and irritability in children.
The Difference between Child Symptoms and Adult Symptoms in Celiac Sufferers
Children who suffer from this disease are much more likely to present with digestive problems (eg, diarrhea, vomiting), while adult sufferers present with other symptoms like missed menstrual cycles, fatigue, arthritis and infertility issues/miscarriage.
The only way to treat celiac disease is to adhere to a gluten-free diet. Once diagnosed, your physician will usually recommend that you work with a certified dietician to compose a proper, healthy diet for your new way of eating and living.