Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that prevents the absorption of proper nutrients and the digestion of gluten.
When people diagnosed with the condition are exposed to gluten – a binding protein common in cereals but also in products related to makeup – the immune system deteriorates and attacks the walls of the small intestine, leading to celiac disease. Accordingly, food is responsible for absorbing nutrients. Foundation (1) People with celiac disease have an inflamed and irritated small intestine, which can interfere with this absorption, leading to a lack of nutrients.
The condition requires avoiding gluten to manage symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease
The signs and symptoms of celiac disease vary widely depending on the individual. In fact, some people have it. In general, though, there are some telling signs that you should be aware of.
First of all, digestive problems can occur in everyone with celiac disease, but they can be more common in children with the disease than in adults. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), some of the digestive symptoms are: (2)
Abdominal pain, bloating, or gas
Chronic diarrhea (may persist, or last for several weeks)
Mild, foul-smelling or oily stools
Nausea and vomiting
Unknown weight loss
On the flip side, celiac disease can also cause complications in other parts of the body. And some of these symptoms are more common in adults than in children.
Nondigestive symptoms may include: (2)
Anemia (low number of blood cells)
Fatigue (extreme fatigue that does not go away with sleep)
Infertility or miscarriage
Depression or anxiety
Cancer sores or ulcers inside the mouth
Bone or joint pain
Osteoporosis (weak, fractured bones that break easily)
Itchy, itchy skin
Tangled or numb hands or feet
Causes and Risk Factors of Celiac Disease
Unfortunately, researchers have not yet been able to identify the real cause of celiac disease. However, he believes that it has something to do with genetics along with environmental factors.
Research shows that having a family member with celiac disease can put you at a higher risk for this condition. For example, the University of Chicago notes that a first-degree relative has a 1 in 22 chance of developing the condition. (3)
In fact, there is a so-called “celiac gene”. In people with celiac disease, 95% have the HLA-DQ2 gene, and most of the remaining 5% have the HLA-DQ8 gene ahead of celiac. (4)
The family doctor noted that people with genetic disorders such as Down syndrome or Turner syndrome are also more likely to have the disease. (5)
If you have another autoimmune disorder, you are more likely to have celiac disease. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, these conditions include: (6)
Type 1 diabetes
How Is Celiac Disease Diagnosed?
Many tests can help your doctor find out if you have celiac disease or any other digestive condition.
According to the Mayo Clinic, your doctor may prescribe: (7)
Blood tests will be done to check your blood samples for special proteins called antibodies. Some antibodies are elevated in people with celiac disease. Before your blood test, you should continue to eat gluten-rich foods. Cutting gluten before the test is completed may delay your diagnosis.
Endoscopy Your doctor may ask a gastroenterologist to perform an endoscopy to confirm your diagnosis if a blood test shows that you may have celiac disease. You will swallow a small, flexible tube with a small camera. Through this tube, your doctor will perform a biopsy, and remove a small piece of tissue from the wall of your small intestine. A specialist (usually a pathologist) looks at the tissue under a microscope to see if it has been damaged by celiac disease.
Genetic testing Your doctor may order a genetic test to rule out a diagnosis of celiac disease. Most people with celiac disease carry a specific form of the HLA-DQ2 or -DQ8 genes. But many people without celiac disease have these conditions, so genetic testing alone cannot diagnose genital warts.
Bone Density Test If you have celiac disease, your doctor will probably recommend a test to test for bone loss. This cannot happen unless you have been following a gluten-free diet for a year. This test uses a scanning machine similar to an X-ray machine. If the scan shows significant bone loss, you may need dietary supplements or other treatments to stimulate bone growth.