Celiac Disease • By: Michele Arave • CNA certified • Diagnosed with Celiac
Celiac Sprue (Gluten intolerance) Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.
Gluten Damage • When people with celiac disease eat foods or use products that contain gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging these villi. • This damage affects the ability to absorb nutrients properly. A person becomes malnourished, no matter how much food he or she eats.
How do you get tested? • Blood and genetic tests can detect several special antibodies, to see if one has celiac. • If the tests are positive, upper endoscopyis usually performed to sample a piece of tissue (biopsy) from the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). The biopsy may show a flattening of the villi in the parts of the intestine below the duodenum.
Treatment • Celiac disease cannot be cured. However, your symptoms will decrease if you follow a lifelong gluten-free diet. • You must read food and medication labels carefully to look for hidden sources of these grains and ingredients related to them. Because wheat and barley grains are common in the American diet, sticking with this diet is challenging..
How do you get Celiac? • The disease can develop at any point in life, from infancy to late adulthood. • People who have a family member with celiac disease are at greater risk for developing the disease. • Women are most often affected from this disease than men
Symptoms of Celiac • These can vary from person to person, which is why diagnosis is rarely immediate. • Abdominal pain, bloating, gas, or indigestion • Constipation • Decreased appetite (may also be increased or unchanged) • Diarrhea, either constant or off and on • Lactose intolerance (common when the person is diagnosed, usually goes away after treatment) • Nausea and vomiting • Stools that float, are foul smelling, bloody, or “fatty” • Unexplained weight loss (although people can be overweight or of normal weight)
Delayed Symptoms • Because the intestines do not absorb many important vitamins, minerals, and other parts of food, the following symptoms may start over time: • Bruising easily, Depression or anxiety, Fatigue, Growth delay in children • Hair loss • Itchy skin (dermatitis herpetiformis) • Missed menstrual periods • Mouth ulcers • Muscle cramps and joint pain • Nosebleeds • Seizures • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet • Unexplained short height
History of Celiac Celiac disease is often miss diagnosed, in which many individuals don’t even show signs of this disease. This condition is thought to affect between 1 in 1,750 and 1 in 105 people in the United States. Today in our society, this disease has become more common due to more screenings. People are now getting diagnosed for this disease, because it is often miss-diagnosed.
teresting Facts • One in 133 Americans have celiac disease. • An estimated 3 million Americans across all races, ages and genders suffer from celiac. • 95% of those with Celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. • 6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed. • 5-22% of celiac patients have an immediate family member (1st degree relative) who also has celiac. • Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.