What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward.
The only known effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet. While the disease is caused by a reaction to wheat proteins, it is usually classified as different from the other forms of wheat allergy.
Increasingly, diagnoses are being made in persons without symptoms as a result of increased screening. Globally coeliac disease affects between 1 in 100 and 1 in 170 people; rates do, however, vary between different regions of the world from as few as 1 in 300 to as many as 1 in 40.
Untreated, celiac disease can cause:
- Loss of calcium and bone density
- Infertility and miscarriage
- Lactose intolerance
Causes Of Celiac Disease:
Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a prolamin (gluten protein) found in wheat, and similar proteins found in the crops of the tribe Triticeae (which includes other common grains such as barley and rye).
In cases of coeliac disease, the immune system mistakes substances found inside gluten as a threat to the body and attack them.
This damages the surface of the small bowel (intestines), disrupting the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food.
Exactly what causes the immune system to act in this way is still not entirely clear, although a combination of a person’s genetic make-up and the environment appear to play a part.
Although celiac disease can affect anyone, it tends to be more common in people who have:
- A family member with celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis
- Type 1 diabetes
- Down syndrome or Turner syndrome
- Autoimmune thyroid disease
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Microscopic colitis (lymphocytic or collagenous colitis
Symptoms Of Celiac Disease:
Signs and symptoms include:
- Anemia, usually resulting from iron deficiency
- Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) or softening of bone (osteomalacia)
- Itchy, blistery skin rash (dermatitis herpetiformis)
- Damage to dental enamel
- Headaches and fatigue
- Nervous system injury, including numbness and tingling in the feet and hands, and possible problems with balance
- Joint pain
- Reduced functioning of the spleen (hyposplenism)
- Acid reflux and heartburn
- weight loss
Diagnosis Of Celiac Disease:
Diagnostic tests may include:
- Blood tests.
- Capsule endoscopy.
Treatment Of Celiac Disease:
At present, the only effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet.
No medication exists that will prevent damage or prevent the body from attacking the gut when gluten is present.
Strict adherence to the diet allows the intestines to heal, leading to resolution of all symptoms in most cases and, depending on how soon the diet is begun, can also eliminate the heightened risk of osteoporosis and intestinal cancer and in some cases sterility.
The diet can be cumbersome; failure to comply with the diet may cause relapse.
By : Natural Health News