Celiac disease impacts about 1 in every 3000 people in the United States. If you’re concerned that you or someone you love may have celiac disease, this is the article for you. We’ll cover the two categories of symptoms and give you an idea of what some of the warning signs are. By the end of this article you’ll have a good idea of what celiac disease is, what the signs and symptoms are and what the likely treatment options are. As with any life-threatening disease, if you feel you may be suffering from it, please consult with your physician right away.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac is a disease of the small intestines. In some individuals, there is an autoimmune reaction when certain proteins, called gluten, are ingested. The lining of the intestines becomes inflamed and then becomes damaged which decreases the ability to absorb vital nutrients.
Celiacs Disease Symptoms
Since celiac disease impacts the digestive system, most of the warning signs are related to digestion and nutrition. There are two main categories of symptoms. The first is warning signs relating to malabsorption of nutrients, the other category is related to malnutrition. Let’s take a look at both.
Malabsorption Signs and Symptoms
When you eat, there are three primary nutritional components – fats, proteins and carbohydrates. In a person with celiac disease, the damage caused to the intestines mostly impacts the ability to absorb fats. When this happens the following symptoms arise: diarrhea, bloating, abdominal cramping or pain, foul smelling gas, and tan or light colored greasy stools. Occasionally patients also report seeing droplets of oil floating on the toilet water.
Signs and Symptoms of Malnutrition
As the disease progresses, malnutrition occurs. Some of the symptoms of celiacs disease related to malnutrition include: weight loss and water retention, anemia due to lack of B12 and iron, infertility particularly in women, osteoporosis due to a lack of calcium absorption, muscle weakness, easy bruising and nerve damage. Symptoms of celiac disease in children include failure to thrive and even stunted growth.
Celiacs Disease Diet
Once diagnosed, the best treatment plan is to follow a diet free of gluten. By eliminating wheat, rye, barley and sometimes oats from your diet you will stop the autoimmune reaction from occurring. Over time, your intestines will heal. While it sounds daunting at first it is easy to pick up gluten free cooking. If you are concerned that you may have celiacs disease, be sure to see your physician who can accurately diagnose you and provide a comprehensive treatment plan.
Celiac disease is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly. However, it is a very treatable disease. By eliminating gluten from your diet you can have a healthy, happy life once again.