Celiac disease, also known as coeliac disease, is an autoimmune disorder that affects around 1 in 100 Americans. The disease is caused by gluten intolerance. Gliadin, a protein in wheat, causes the afflicted persons immune system to attack its own bowel tissue. This causes villous atrophy, or the erosion of the nutrient absorbing villi that line the small intestine. Other grains, like barley and rye, have similarly shaped proteins which can cause the same reaction in sensitive individuals.
Celiac disease can cause irreversible damage. The issue seems to be genetic in cause and can be passed down through generations. Testing for celiac disease is done through blood tests and endoscopy. It is important for the afflicted person to continue eating gluten while they are tested for celiac disease. When they remove gluten from their diet, their body starts to repair itself, giving a false negative for the tests.
Celiac disease can cause a multitude of problems. The major ones come from malabsorption of nutrients. This can lead to osteoporosis, anemia, and stunted growth in children. Those who suffer from celiac disease are also more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma when compared to the general population. The best way to protect yourself and minimize your risk is early diagnosis and strict diet.
Here are 10 symptoms of celiac disease. If you suffer from any of these symptoms or believe you may be at risk for celiac disease, please contact your doctor for testing.
1. No Symptoms
Unfortunately, many people who suffer from celiac disease have no symptoms. This is particularly dangerous as intestinal damage can occur even when no symptoms are present. With new screening techniques, people are being diagnosed without ever suspecting they have the disease. It is important for people with no symptoms but a positive diagnosis to eat properly, as they are still at risk for serious complications of celiac disease, such as cancer.