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Roshni works in a private firm in Nagpur. For the last few days, Roshni was suffering from diarrhoea, bloating, and tiredness. Roshni took some medications to improve her condition. But she noticed, her symptoms are triggered by the ingestion of gluten. Then her friend advised that she must consult a doctor and go for some blood tests to check whether she has celiac disease or not. The doctor also recommended some tests as she had most of the celiac disease symptoms. While the reports came, Roshni was tested positive for a celiac disease blood test.
Let’s take a look at what is meant by celiac disease, signs & symptoms and celiac disease treatment.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that gets aggravated when you consume gluten. This disease is also called celiac sprue, or non-tropical sprue.
Gluten is a protein that is commonly found in rye, barley, wheat, and other grains. For people who have celiac disease, if they consume gluten, bodies overreact to the protein. This can damage their villi (small projections usually found in the wall of the small intestine). Once your villi are damaged, the small intestine can’t function properly and may not absorb nutrients from food. This may lead to several complications like malnourishment, low bone density, miscarriage, infertility, neurological diseases or even cancers. Most people don’t know that they have celiac disease. Several studies have claimed that only 20% of people with the disease get the proper diagnosis and treatment.
Celiac disease is different from gluten intolerance or gluten sensitivity. People who are suffering from gluten intolerance may show the same symptoms and they also like to avoid gluten. But there is no immune response or damage to the small intestine.
Common Symptoms of Celiac Disease
Diarrhoea or watery stool is the most common symptom of celiac disease that may experience before the proper diagnosis. Several medical studies have claimed that 43% of people with celiac disease have diarrhoea. But if you follow a gluten-free diet, then many symptoms of celiac diseases will be solved, including diarrhoea. One study has also revealed that people (with celiac disease) who followed a gluten-free diet reported fewer diarrhoea symptoms than those who didn’t follow.
People who have celiac disease may also experience bloating. Celiac disease may cause inflammation in your digestive system; as a result, you may suffer from bloating and other digestive issues. A small study was conducted on 85 people who have been diagnosed with celiac disease and it is found that nearly 9% of them experienced bloating and other digestive problems.
A gluten-free diet will improve your condition and will help you to get rid of symptoms like bloating.
Excessive gas is also another common symptom for people with celiac disease. A study was performed on 193 adults with celiac disease and it has been found that nearly 7% of them experienced excess gas.
People with celiac disease often experience fatigue. Several studies have claimed that people with celiac disease may have sleep disorders and nutritional deficiencies which are responsible for fatigue. Untreated celiac disease may cause serious damage to your intestine. As a result, the small intestine can’t absorb nutrients like vitamins and minerals from your food. So, you may suffer from malnutrition that can also lead to reduced energy levels.
People often experience abrupt weight loss if they have celiac disease. This is because your body can’t absorb the nutrients properly that may lead to weight loss or malnutrition. A study was conducted on children and it was revealed that nearly 29% and 26% of children with celiac disease had a low body weight and low body mass index (BMI). If you follow the proper treatment, most symptoms of celiac disease will be resolved and you may also gain some pounds.
Several medical studies have supported that iron deficiency or anaemia is present in nearly 40% of people with celiac disease. Another study was performed on 455 children with celiac disease and it has been found that nearly 18% of them were anaemic. However, 92% of patients (suffering from anaemia) resolved after following a gluten-free diet within 1 year.
Celiac disease injures your small intestinal villi. These little finger-like projections in the intestine are responsible for absorbing nutrients.
But if you have celiac disease, then these villi can’t absorb nutrients completely and even absorb extra moisture from the stool instead. This may cause hardening of stool and it becomes difficult to pass, resulting in constipation.
Celiac disease may cause several psychological problems like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. Nearly 37 medical studies have claimed that celiac disease may enhance the risk of depression, anxiety, and eating disorders.
Celiac disease may also be responsible for dermatitis herpetiformis. This is a type of skin condition where rashes appear on your elbows, knees, or buttocks.
Nearly, 17% of people with celiac disease experience this rash. This is an indicative symptom that leads to a diagnosis.
Vitamins A and D play an imperative role in functioning your eyes well. Celiac makes it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients. This can lead to:
- Blurred vision
- Dry eye
- Retinal lesions
- Missed period
- Late puberty
- Lack of muscle coordination
Causes of Celiac Disease
There is no particular reason for this disease. Moreover, this is a lifelong condition that has no cure. But you can manage the symptoms by strictly following a gluten-free diet. You must avoid food items like pasta, bread, cookies, cakes, beer, sauces, etc.
Celiac disease is a serious health issue as it can cause other health problems. The symptoms may not be the same for all. If you are suspected of having celiac disease, consult your doctor and get tested as soon as possible. By adhering to a gluten-free diet, you can manage and minimize your symptoms to some extent.