Do you eat foods that contain gluten? Well, be careful about what you eat and how much you eat because it can trigger certain diseases like celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is triggered when you eat gluten. It is also referred to as celiac spray, nontropical spray and gluten-sensitive entropathy. Gluten is basically a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and many other grains. Gluten is responsible for making the flour elastic and also gives the bread a chewy texture. When a person with celiac disease eats something gluten-containing, their body reacts negatively to this protein and damages their villi in the small intestine. If Villi is infected, your small intestine will not be able to function properly, making it difficult to absorb nutrients from food.
Gradually, this can lead to sudden weight loss, thus malnutrition, and it weakens your bone density, and other problems such as miscarriage, infertility, neurological diseases and certain cancers. If your celiac disease does not get better within a year without gluten, it is referred to as refractory or reactive celiac disease. Celiac disease is not exactly the same as gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity. People with gluten intolerance may avoid gluten as well as experience the same symptoms. However, they do not show any immune response in the small intestine. Onlymyhealth editorial team Dr. Radha M, Consultant Gastroenterology, spoke with Fortis Malar Hospital about the symptoms, causes, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment and diet of celiac disease.
Symptoms of celiac disease
Celiac disease is not like a common food allergy and the symptoms are very different. If you are allergic to wheat, eat wheat-based foods, but you will only have itchy or watery eyes and difficulty breathing. According to Dr. Radha, if you already have celiac disease or you eat gluten-containing foods, you may experience symptoms such as:
Diarrhea is one of the most common symptoms of celiac disease. The patient feels loose watery stools. However, it should be noted that various other causes can also cause diarrhea. If diarrhea is prolonged, one must see a doctor for proper diagnosis.
2. Weight loss
In some cases, weight loss is caused by chronic diarrhea because the gut is not able to absorb all the nutrients. Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness. A gluten free diet can help a person gain weight.
Nausea is often felt as a symptom of celiac disease. This may be due to excess gas being produced in our body. In some cases of celiac disease, the patient may also feel the urge to vomit.
Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of celiac disease. This is due to a decrease in energy levels as the small intestine cannot absorb essential minerals from food. You can get rid of this symptom by eating a healthy diet.
Also read: Celiac disease affects 7 million Indians
Celiac disease causes both diarrhea and constipation. Gluten free diet cuts a lot of fiber from our diet. And because of the inflammation, the intestinal villi absorb excess moisture from our stool, thus leading to constipation.
6. Abdominal pain
Abdominal pain is usually accompanied by diarrhea or gas. Both can cause severe abdominal pain. The pain is usually caused by inflammation of the intestines in celiac disease because our own immune system attacks the intestines.
Some other rare signs and symptoms of celiac disease include:
- Decreased bone density
- Pain in the joints
- Mouth ulcers
- Skin rash
The cause of celiac disease
Your genes combine with gluten-free foods and there may be other causes behind celiac disease, but the exact cause is still unknown. In addition, baby feeding methods, gastrointestinal infections and intestinal infections can have a negative impact on your health and trigger the disease. Occasionally, celiac disease can trigger surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infections, and even severe stress or anxiety.
There is no definitive evidence or research on the exact cause of celiac disease. When the body’s immune system responds to gluten present in food, the reaction damages the lining of the small intestine. Villi contribute to the absorption of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food you eat. If your villi are damaged, you will not be able to get adequate nutrition even if you eat a good amount of food. And, according to Dr. Radha, the risk factors for celiac disease are:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Family history
- Edison’s disease
- Autoimmune thyroid disease
- Down syndrome
- Multiple sclerosis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Annoying stomach problems
- Bowel cancer
Diagnosis of celiac disease
Not everyone with celiac disease will have the symptoms listed above. Some people may not even notice any symptoms, which can make the diagnosis very difficult. Many people with celiac disease do not know that they actually have the disease. There are blood tests that can help make an accurate diagnosis, which is basically serology testing and genetic testing. It is important to get tested for celiac disease before going on a gluten-free diet. Limiting gluten from your diet can make your blood results look normal, even if it is not. If the results of this test indicate celiac disease, your doctor will perform an endoscopy. If your doctor finds out that you already have dermatitis herpetiformis, the specialist may take a small sample of skin tissue to examine under a microscope and perform a skin biopsy.
Treatment of celiac disease
A strict and gluten-free diet is the only best way to prevent and treat celiac disease. Removing gluten from your diet will gradually reduce the inflammation of your small intestine, make you feel better and eventually recover. Children tend to heal faster than adults. If your small intestine is severely damaged or you have debilitating celiac disease, your doctor may recommend that you take medication to manage the inflammation. Thus, your diet plays a big role in the treatment of this disease. According to Dr. Radha, the foods that these patients should eat and avoid are:
- Meat and poultry
- Graham flour
- Wheat starch
Therefore, these were the symptoms, causes, risk factors and treatment of celiac disease. Celiac disease can be worse if you ignore it and do not treat it. It can cause other complications such as cancer, malnutrition, pancreatic disease, infertility and even weak bones. All you can do to treat this condition is to change your diet. It is important to check their labels before eating packaged foods. Common products such as toothpaste may also contain gluten. You can talk to your dietitian about your diet schedule to prevent and treat this disease.
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