What is Celiac Disease?

Unless you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease or know someone who has, it’s very possible that you’ve never heard of it. Most of us are familiar with the term gluten intolerant, but what does it really mean? In this article we’ll define gluten intolerance and celiac disease, take a look at some of the most frequently reported symptoms of celiac disease, and cover some of the basic treatment recommendations. By the end of this article you’ll have a better understand of celiac disease along with a few tips on how to combat it.

What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease, also sometimes referred to as coeliac disease, is a disease of the intestines. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten their body has an autoimmune reaction where the intestines become irritated and swell. This swelling can damage the intestines leading to an inability to absorb nutrients. In severe cases celiac disease can be life threatening.

Celiac Disease Symptoms
Before we share with you the list of common symptoms, it’s important to note that not all those suffering from celiac disease exhibit all, some or even any of these symptoms. One of the most difficult parts of diagnosing celiac disease is the variance in symptoms. Some people suffer from almost all the symptoms – others have no symptoms at all for many many years.

  • Fatigue
  • Foggy thinking
  • Abdominal pain or cramping, particularly after consuming wheat or gluten containing products
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Anemia
  • Other vitamin or mineral deficiencies
  • Elevated liver counts on blood tests
  • Weight loss
  • Osteoporosis
  • Itchy rash that comes and goes

If you have several of the above listed symptoms, or if you suspect that you may have celiac disease, see your physician right away. There are simple tests that can be done to diagnose this disease and treatment is possible. Don’t spend another day in discomfort.

Celiac Disease in Children
In children, the disease can be difficult to identify at first. Most infants with celiac disease are given a ‘failure to thrive’ classification. In toddlers and older children a symptom can be stunted growth along with some of the other symptoms found in adults such as fatigue, rash and abdominal pain.

Treatment
Fortunately, there is treatment. The only known way to treat celiac disease is with a gluten free diet. Gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley and most oats. By removing the source of the gluten the intestines will no longer trigger an autoimmune reaction. Over time the intestines can heal and normal nutritional absorption can occur. It may sound daunting to remove all wheat from your diet, but there are many gluten free substitutes on the market today.